Monday, November 24, 2014

Fit & Fabulous: Motivation,Tips & Tricks to Get Fit, Stay Fit & Enjoy It During the Holidays & Beyond!

It's that time of year, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is upon us. Between pies and traveling, it can be hard to stay active and fit during this time of year. A to-do list a mile long, a mother lode of family obligations, work parties and last minute shopping means it's hard to get motivated and stay disciplined to exercise. You're stressed, busy and it's cold outside, so why not just take a break from your fitness program until the New Year? Because there are 34 days between Thanksgiving and New Years and we at Joy of Fitness are determined to help you make the most of them.  We've come up with some smart strategies, motivational techniques and a challenge to help you make fitness part of the celebration all holiday season long.

Try a dance based fitness class like Zumba!

Need some motivation, nibble on this:
  • Remember that exercise helps control weight. Want to be able to have your iced sugar cookies and eat it too, AND not gain weight over the holidays, then keep moving! When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don't need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can't do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways — by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the store or revving up your household chores.
  • Remember that exercise improves mood. Need another way to deal with that pesky relative besides drinking that extra class of spiked egg nog, insist they come along to your intense interval class. That will learn them and make you happy too! A workout at the gym, a group exercise class or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.
  • Remember that exercise boosts energy. Winded by your gargantuan to-do list? Can't keep up with your boss at the annual holiday chicken dance competition... Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores 
  • Remember that exercise helps promote sleep. Are visions of sugar plums dancing in your head and keeping you up at night. If you are struggling to fall asleep, or to stay asleep, regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep.

Find relaxation and unwind w/ Yoga!
Need some tips & strategies to keep moving during the holidays and beyond, try these:
  • Acknowledge and accept that the holidays probably will affect your exercise program to some extent. Then you can...
  • Be flexible when your day gets busy. For example, instead of simply blowing off your 5 p.m. trip to class in favor of an office party at the same time, wake up an hour early and walk or jog before work. Or fit a brisk walk into your lunch hour.
  • Mix up your routine. For example, if you are a runner, instead of running four days a week, try adding in a strength training class and/or yoga class. The novelty of the new exercise will hopefully be a stronger motivator than the 'need' to do something else during your normal exercise time. An extra benefit is that cross training is the best way to avoid injuries and improve your time.  OR if you usually take exercise classes only offered at a certain time, try a new class that is offered at a time that works better for you during this busy time of year- variety is the spice of life! 
  • Organize your day the evening before. Prioritizing your tasks beforehand will help you find time to exercise. Each week, make it a priority to fit in three exercise sessions.  
  • Combine exercise with family commitment. For example, hauling the kids up a hill a few times can make a sledding trip as beneficial as a jog.
  • Just say no. You do not have to attend every party, go to every holiday extravaganza.  Take an honest look at your schedule, and instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, take other things out.
  • Consider online shopping- saves on travel time, shopping stress and may save some dough. The goal is not to do more (as we all have a tendency to do this time of year), but to do less, but do it all well.
  • Challenge yourself by creating a holiday wish list for one or more improved areas of physical fitness. Maybe you want to increase arm, leg , glutes, core strength or increase your cardio. Maybe you want to obtain more flexibility or balance. Challenges are fun ways to focus on one aspect of your fitness and to help you keep your discipline constant. Create your own challenge, whether it involves trying a new bodyweight exercise every day, testing different yoga poses or experimenting with an unfamiliar running workout. And be sure to check out Shannon & Erika in their holiday challenge!
  • Create a home workout for yourself or check-out our recommended Joy of Fitness 5-20 min. home workout routine, for those times you can't make it to the gym or class. Squats, push-ups, and many other exercises can be done without any gym equipment.
We also love these suggestions from an article written by Sophia Breene on Huffington Post Healthy Living:
  • Make It Official and sign up for a race, competition or fitness-y vacation like a hiking or bike trip in January or February so you have a good reason (and plenty of motivation) to stay in shape over the holidays.
  • Try Feet-First Sightseeing. If you're traveling or going on vacation explore a new city on foot or bike instead of in a car or by public transportation (weather permitting).
  • Find A Workout Buddy Stepping out at night for an 8p.m. fusion fitness class is much harder to skip when you're one half of a dynamic workout duo. Enlist a fitness-minded friend or family member (especially if you're traveling) to be your holiday exercise buddy. Encourage each other to lace up the sneakers for pre-dinner workouts and post-shopping trip runs.
  • Treat Yourself No, not to that extra slice of pumpkin pie. If it's within your budget, indulge in new workout clothing or fitness equipment before Thanksgiving to boost motivation throughout the holiday season.
  • Start A Fitness Tradition. There are tons of family-friendly holiday-themed running events in most areas. Sign up the whole family (don't forget the costumes) for a fun, goofy Turkey Trot or Jingle Jog. Before you know it, the annual race will become a family tradition. 
  • Include Everyone. Working out can often be a solitary activity, which may explain why many people skip the gym when friends and family are in town. Make it a group activity by inviting visitors to join you at the gym or a favorite exercise class.
  • Find A Promotion. Many gyms and exercise studios offer deals and specials during the holidays. Do some snooping and sign up if you find a sweet deal.
  •  Act Like A Kid. Childhood winter favorites like sledding, snowball fights and ice-skating get the heart pumping. Head outside for a sneaky (and super-fun) workout.
Be ready for the mistletoe. People are attracted to strong, healthy people. Your confidence will show if you've been keeping up with your exercise habits.

1 comment:

Dean Reese said...

I love the idea of making it official! I think, by doing this, it makes you committed to something you started. I have been wanting to get more in shape and feel better about myself. I'll have to start by trying to make it official and signing up for a race or a gym. My goal is to be healthier and lose a couple pounds by the end of June!