Staying Active During the Holidays

How to stay active and healthy throughout the holiday season

(RxWiki News) 'Tis the season of heaping plates, sweet treats, endless holiday parties, lazy days off work and all-too-often, expanding waistlines.

But all fitness and health does not have to be lost during the holiday season. There are plenty of ways to stay fit through this season of indulgences while still enjoying the celebrations.

There's no reason to wait until New Year's to make a resolution — you can resolve now to make healthy choices during this holiday season.

How Much Is Enough?

How much activity do adults need? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults need at least 150 minutes (2 hours, 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and weight training muscle-strengthening activities per week.

Moderate-intensity aerobic activity, or "cardio," is anything that gets your heart pumping faster and breath flowing harder, said the CDC. This includes brisk walking or riding a bike on fairly level ground. Weight training (muscle-strengthening) is any activity that works all the major muscle groups — from lifting weights to resistance exercises using body weight to yoga to heavy gardening.

Trying to maintain this minimum during the holidays can go a long way in helping you stay fit. And according to the CDC, the more physical activity you can add in every week, the more health benefits you will gain.

Plan Ahead

A big part part of fitting this activity in during the holidays is planning ahead for it. Taking time to schedule workouts and healthy meals is an important step to staying fit.

If you have a gym membership, see if you'll be able to use it in any cities you plan to visit during the holidays. If not, make plans to do some in-home or outdoor workouts.

For some, the schedule becomes more relaxed during the holidays. Many people have extra time off from work or school during this time. Taking advantage of the more relaxed schedule and fitting in some exercise can be great, not only for the time being, but it can also be a great opportunity to make exercise a new habit.

Make Activity a Part of the Celebration

Here's a fun and healthy suggestion: Sign up for a local holiday run or walk, like a turkey trot or Christmas run. By having this event on the calendar (and registration completed), you will commit to exercise not only the day of the event, but training in order to prepare.

The point is incorporating physical activity into the celebration and family time.

By making activity an integral part of the holiday, not a chore you have to squeeze in solo, you can help reduce a major barrier to holiday exercise.

You Are in Control

When you're faced with all that delicious and unhealthy food, remind yourself that you have the ultimate power of choice, even when Grandma is pushing a second helping.

It can be difficult to say no at first, but it gets easier. And you'll feel healthier as a result.

When the pressure gets high, check in with your motivation for being fit and healthy. Remember why you care about this in the first place. Is it to lose weight, have more energy to play with your kids or something else?

Whatever it is, place it front and center in your mind.

Allow Some Indulgences

It's OK to eat some special stuff this holiday season. Grab a slice of pumpkin pie or snag a Christmas cookie, but just do so consciously.

In this way, you acknowledge that you want to stray. But remember your goals and motivations, and stray in a way that allows you a little bite of sweets without going overboard and gobbling up the whole pie.

All this effort to stay fit during the holidays is sure to pay off.

Just make sure you always consult with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet or exercise regimen.