By Nancy Gildersleeve, Capital District YMCA
For most of us, the holiday season means less down time and planning nutritious meals, more stress, and difficulty sticking to our workout routine. Even dedicated exercisers can have difficulty staying on track during the holidays.
Studies show that on average most people gain 1-4 lbs from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Eve. For those already trying to lost weight, these statistics can be discouraging.
Planning ahead and making exercise a priority can reduce your stress level and help you combat unwanted holiday pounds. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track this holiday season. Set realistic fitness goals and stick to them.
If you can’t make your favorite group exercise class due to holiday parties or shopping, re-arrange your schedule to try a new class (the Y offers classes throughout the day). If you typically prefer aerobics, try a workout with weights. We can help you make the change. If you love weights, try a group fitness or a spin class. Any exercise is better than none. Include family time in your exercise.
Pulling the kids up a hill a few times can make sledding as beneficial as a jog. Taking the dog for a walk, ice skating, snowshoeing or cross country skiing provides quality time with the one's you love and great exercise. Keep a water bottle with you at all times to avoid being thirsty or dehydrated. Drinking water also gives you a sense of fullness which helps limit your temptation to eat more food. Use moderation when indulging in party foods.
Try smaller portions of not so healthy foods and larger portions of salads, vegetables, fruit or lean meats. Having a light, healthy snack before a holiday gathering can help curb your hunger and avoid binging on sweets or other high calorie treats.
Take advantage of a lunch hour power walk. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park your car further away to increase your steps to and from work. Always have your workout gear with you to help stick to exercising.
Remember: the holidays are a time to enjoy with family and friends. It’s not what you do and eat from Thanksgiving to the New Year but more about what you do and eat from New Year to Thanksgiving. Think moderation when it comes to indulging this holiday season and make exercise a priority.
Keeping yourself on track and being health conscious is the best gift you can give yourself and your family.