The holiday season is packed with parties, which means plenty of opportunities to stuff your face with sweets. Busy schedules and extra errands also make it easier to let your workout regime slip away. Fortunately, you can learn how to stay healthy during the holidays—without missing out on all the fun. Beat the stress and stay on track with these simple holiday fitness tips.
Create a Realistic Meal Plan
The most important thing you can do to prepare for a healthy holiday season is to take a good look at your strengths and weaknesses, then plan accordingly. If desserts are irresistible, or you know you have had more success from completely avoiding them, look for ways to mingle away from the food tables. It may also be wise to eat before going out so you can fill up on healthy food before the treats are in front of you.
However, if you know your sister is baking your favorite dessert for the family Christmas party, it’s acceptable to allow yourself a reasonable-sized portion. Just make sure to pass on all the other tasty temptations you won’t really miss.
Remember that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. In fact, if you try to avoid sweets altogether, you may be setting yourself up for failure. Plan your meals, and more importantly, your snacks, in advance to make sure you continue to eat healthy nearly all the time. This way, you can still enjoy an occasional treat without the guilt.
Make Exercise a Non-Negotiable Part of Your Schedule
Knowing how to stay healthy for the holidays means knowing you need to get up and move your body! Whether it’s ten minutes or an hour, three days a week or five, set a schedule you know you can stick to and make it a high priority.
Staying Fit During the Holidays
Once you know when you will work out and for how long, it’s time to decide what type of workouts you will be doing. Fortunately, there are tons of virtual resistance training workouts led by professional trainers led by professional trainers that you can follow by watching on your phone, tablet, or laptop, no matter where you are.
Invest in versatile equipment to use at home, such as a Gorilla Bow with adjustable resistance levels, and follow online workouts and recommended schedules.
You can also incorporate extra healthy activities, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking your car further away from the building, or walking during your breaks.
Your family may enjoy a walk around the neighborhood together or playing an active game.
Don’t underestimate the physical benefits of service and hard work. Help shovel snow, rake leaves, hang lights, put up the tree, and anything else your loved ones need help with.
Choose Your Beverages Wisely
Staying hydrated is crucial for your body. Drinking water regulates digestion, helps maintain blood pressure, boosts physical performance and recovery, aids in weight loss, and even reduces hangover symptoms. Track how much water you drink each day and carefully consider the consequences of consuming other beverages before indulging.
Alcohol and soda do not provide the cells and organs in your body with the same benefits as water will. In fact, they contain a variety of ingredients that are harmful to your body and can even deplete the body of water, rather than help keep you hydrated. Juices, eggnog, and other fun options are also loaded with sugar, so think twice before filling your glass.
Stick to a Sleep Schedule
As with eating, it is crucial to maintain your good sleep habits as much as possible. The holidays come with parties, which means late nights and disrupted sleep. Stick to your regular sleep schedule most nights and try not to stay out late too many nights in the same week. Your body still needs plenty of rest to recharge and keep you feeling great.
Lower Your Stress
It is not uncommon to experience heightened stress around the holidays. In addition to practicing the holiday fitness tips mentioned above, find ways to care for your mental health and take control of stressful situations.
Start practicing yoga or meditation to develop and strengthen your positive mindset. Make lists and keep a calendar or day planner to make sure you don’t forget anything.
It is also a good idea to make a plan before attending any events with negative family members or awkward exes. Bring a friend or have an exit strategy. If you’re not in charge of the event, there is no reason to stay and make yourself miserable.
Stay Focused When Traveling
If your holiday plans include traveling, you can still make arrangements to stick to your healthy habits. Book a hotel with an on-site gym or indoor pool, choose healthier options when eating out, and bring your own snacks instead of splurging while you are out.
If you are staying with family, find a place where you can work out without disturbing anyone or find out if gyms in the area will allow you in as a guest or on a trial basis. You can also run or walk outdoors when the weather allows.
Don’t Do It Alone
Set yourself up for success by recruiting your friends and family to commit to a healthy holiday with you. Hold each other accountable, work out together, or attend events together for support. When you know you won’t be the only one making an effort, it’s much easier to make good choices.
Let’s face it—you’re probably going to skip a workout or have an extra treat once or twice. I mean, you’re human. However, the real problem starts when you tell yourself that since you’ve already “messed up,” you might as well just give in until January. One, or even five, missed workouts is still better than not working out at all. An unplanned dessert is still better than failing to plan the rest of your meals.
Forgive yourself and move on. Don’t rationalize that it’s okay to “enjoy the holidays” and start over later. You’ll probably end up enjoying the holidays more if you’re not feeling guilty, tired, and cranky from too much junk food and not enough exercise.
Whatever your plans for the holidays, create a realistic goal and prepare yourself to stick with it. Know what you are willing to do and what you are capable of avoiding before the party invites and edible gifts start arriving.
With these holiday fitness tips, you’ll be able to continue feeling energetic and stress-free, even when those around you start getting gloomy and sluggish. While others make weight loss resolutions, you can start the new year strong, healthy, and confident.