With the holidays right around the corner, make your way through without guilt or added pounds. The secret is balance over a several day period.
Instead of reaching for caffeine, go for a walk or take an exercise class. Too much caffeine can make you feel tired and wired, but a good workout helps you feel physically relaxed but mentally alert. It relieves tension and stress and helps concentration. Exercise also enhances sleep quality.
Plan to do cardiovascular activities several times a week, but be realistic. This is a special time of year to spend with family and friends. Set a goal to maintain, not raise your fitness level. Shorter workouts are better than none. Try a fitness DVD, park a long way from the mall, take a walk before or after work to regroup before the activities begin. Carry water and healthful snacks with you. Don't skip meals. Eat healthful foods before parties and practice portion control.
Try strength training circuits instead of your regular routine. It will help get you in and out of the gym quickly, but still allow you to receive the benefits from weight training. Plan to do some daily stretches and find some time for some longer relaxation or yoga sessions.
Your goal during the holidays should not be just to survive them, but enjoy them. Fitness is a great gift to yourself, even during the busiest time of year!
– Laura Henry, manager, Martin Memorial Hospital South Health and Fitness Center