It’s still early in the holiday season, and in all the excitement, health and fitness goals seem to fade into the background. Holidays can wreak havoc on health and fitness regimens, but as Louis Pasteur famously said, “Chance favors the prepared mind.”  Social and family obligations over the holidays can make it difficult to maintain workout schedules but with some forethought, you can enjoy fit, healthy holidays without losing out on all the fun!

It’s important to start making plans to stay fit during the holidays before they take over! Here’s a few ideas to keep in mind over the next month:

  • Be realistic and plan workouts that take the busy holiday season into consideration. Combine exercising and family commitment … get some quality family time and take the kids sledding! Lace up those skates for a great workout at the local pond or ice rink. Take a family tour through neighborhood on foot to see the Christmas lights. Use those seasonal chores, like raking leaves or shoveling snow, to burn calories!
  • High-intensity interval training burns the maximum calories in the minimum amount of time and  can be a great alternative for the holidays. You can use an exercise bike, treadmill or step machine, alternating periods of high speed workouts with slower recovery intervals. Try quick bursts of jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging or sprinting, alternated with periods of slower-paced activity.  Keep yourself interested by mixing up your routine.
  • Try to combine physical activities with holiday tasks and errands. Park farther away from the mall entrance and jog to the entrance, walk quickly while shopping.  Use the 10 minutes while the cookies are baking in the oven to stretch or work out on the treadmill or climb the stairs, it will help burn excess calories and you’ll feel better.
  • Avoid overindulging at parties by eating during the day. You might even want to eat a healthy snack just before going to a holiday event! Once you’re there, head for the low-calorie foods first, then enjoy a reasonable portion of something special. Letting yourself enjoy a treat can help keep up your motivation not to overeat strong.
  • Keep calories from alcohol to a minimum by drinking  white wine and club soda wine spritzers. Keep these on hand for guest and dress up with a mint spring!

Plan now for a healthy and happy holiday season!