Staying Fit and Healthy during the Holidays

With all the goodies and treats that float around, the enticements in the stores, the endless holiday parties, traveling to visit family, not to mention the craze of shopping, how do you hold on to some sanity and fitness during the season?

Get the little things out of the way

  • Online Shopping – I LOVE shopping, but recently shopping for someone else stresses me out. I can’t seem to find everything in one store and end up driving around 2 hours for 1 gift. I’ve shifted to online shopping and love having everything delivered onto my doorsteps. 
  • Gift Cards – Since I don’t have any family to exchange gifts with, I usually splurge on teachers. The first couple of years I’d scout for the usual coffee mugs, #1 Teacher stuff. And then I discovered giftcards! A giftcard to Target and/or their favorite restaurant. Done!

Involve the Family
  • Take the kids out for a run or bike ride – Unless you are training for an endurance event in Spring, it doesn’t have to be a 2-3 hour run that takes you away from family. Run with the kids or get them bike while you run alongside (makes for a great tempo workout). 
  • Go IceSkating – Even Hotlanta has 3 seasonal outdoor ice skating rinks (that I know of, I am sure there are more). Relive your childhood and have some skating fun with the kids, or go on a date, or just by yourself. That extra large mug of hot chocolate will be so much more tasty after a fun filled hour.
  • Use Santa’s Gifts – Did Santa get you a Wii, Playstation or anyother gaming console or just a plain ol’ new TV? Try some dance fun with the family! Zumba DVDs, Dancing with the Starts cardio DVDs, Dance Revolution, Just Dance – so many options for craziness! 
  • Bond over walks – Meeting your sister after 2 months and got tons to catchup? Or your friend from college that you only talk on facebook? Invite them to walk with you (or run if they are runners!) and talk to your hearts content! You will be left longing for more.

Sneak in some alone time
  • Be prepared – Whether you are traveling or at home, always have a sports bra and a tech shirt handy. I disguise my capris/pants as loungewear and wear my running shoes as ‘comfy shoes’ while traveling so I don’t have to worry about it. You never know when you get those 30 minutes of “me” time. 
  • Don’t be afraid of the cold – Sneak in a run in the cold while the rest of the family sleeps in. Remember some winter running tips and just go. Even a 30-45 minutes run to kickstart your day will go a long way. 
  • Body weight exercises are super easy to do wherever you are – Squats, lunges, pushups, crunches, planks and more! Even a quick 20 minutes of reps will leave you stronger than you were 20 minutes ago.
  • Relax and unwind – Not by chilling on the couch, but turn to some yoga/pilates and make the holidays your ‘off season’. Studios, DVDs or just on your own will improve your flexibility and less stressed. 

Celebrations are an extension of your daily life
  • Plan your meals – Try not to let shopping, planning, traveling, etc take over your life. You still need to eat, you still need to eat healthy. Plan your meals like you’ve always done. 
  • Treat your shopping excusions like a long run – Often we forget that shopping takes us close to 2-3 hours, including the travel time (and finding a parking spot)! Plan to eat and hydrate just like you would on a long run. Carry a bottle of water and some snacks. It will help you avoid impulse purchases and help you finish up your shopping more efficiently and faster. 
  • Keep hydrated – With water. Alcohol at the parties is a huge downfall for a lot of people. They stay away from sugary indulgences only to overindulge in alcohol. Balancing (or replacing) it with water will keep you in control of your calorific intake and also avoid dehydration. 
  • Get creative – Instead of going for the usual baked treats, try something else to take for potluck parties or as goody bags. This year I got some mason jars, the 9 grain packet from Trader Joe/Whole Foods, put in a salt and seasoning mix in a tiny little ziploc and made a very pretty chilli bundle and gifted it with instructions (My Inspiration).
  • Its a holi-DAY, not a holi-Month – Whether it be attending parties or getting that christmas dinner ready, it is a one off event. Live in the moment and enjoy the party, but not the after-party or the pre-party desserts. This one I especially struggle with because there are usually way more desserts than can be eaten and everyone goes home with some. I sometimes say no, but if it is something different I will take it to the kids’ school or to work. Nobody from school or work have sent me hate mail. So far.

How many parties on average do you attend during the Holidays?
How do you keep yourself fit and healthy through the holidays? Are there any tips that you would like to share?
(Feel free to link your blog post if you have one on this topic)
Do you avoid spring goals races to relax through the holiday season, or do you use spring goal races to keep you motivated through the season?
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