December 21, 2023

5 Tips to Stay Active During the Holiday Season

woman running with dog in winter

Staying on top of your workout routine can be challenging on a normal day, let alone during the holiday season. From afterwork holiday parties, weekend festive dinners, family obligations and the push to complete a never-ending to-do list, it can seem impossible to fit in your daily workout.

Amidst the busyness of the season, it’s important to check-in with yourself and maintain focus on your health and wellness goals. There are simple ways to remain consistent with daily physical activity during the holiday craze, which will not only benefit your physical health, but may improve your mental health as well.

5 Ways to Prioritize Fitness During the Holidays

Maintaining physical activity through the holiday season make look a bit different than it does throughout the rest of the year. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to pack as many punches, log as many miles, or pump as much iron, getting some physical activity is better than nothing. Here are some tips to keep you moving through the holidays.

1 | Be Realistic with Your Goals

It’s likely cold outside where you live, and as humans we like to hibernate during the colder months as much as bears do. Not to mention, during this time of year, its natural to snack a bit more (hello coworkers bringing in holiday treats on the regular), move a bit less (thank you Southwest for my delayed flight) and spend extra time wrapped up in a cozy blanket on your sofa (yes to nights in with a glass of mulled wine).

It’s important to allow yourself some grace this holiday season and not take it hard if you decided to have a spontaneous day of rest or overindulge on holiday treats. Be realistic during this time of year and understand your daily physical activity may look a little different than it does normally.

As long as you are moving daily, you are winning my friend. Maybe you park a bit farther away from your office or the store to log additional steps. Schedule packed with evening holiday obligations – opt for morning workouts. Group fitness schedule modified for the holidays – try a different class or instructor. Temperature a bit too low for your outdoor run – hit the treadmill and log those miles.

No matter the hurdle, be confident in the fact you can pivot and still stay in line with your health and wellness goals. Just remember, as long as making conscious choices to move your body daily, you are heading in the right direction.

2 | Plan Your Workouts Ahead of Traveling

Just as maintaining healthy eating behaviors while traveling can be difficult, it can be just as challenging to get in good workouts as well. Use the following fitness tips to maximize your time away to fit in physical activity when possible.

Pack the right clothes.

Leave space in your suitcase for activewear. Packing a few sets of workout clothes (yup – sneakers too!) will increase the chances that you will take the time out to get regular activity.

If you’re staying with family or friends, you’ll be able to launder your gear daily. Staying at a hotel? Most hotels have a laundry service, so you can get your workout gear laundered after each workout. Don’t worry about your activewear weighing down your luggage since you essentially only have to pack one or two sets of work out attire.

Check out local gym and boutique studios.

While you are waiting to board your airplane, take the opportunity to check out the local fitness scene at your destination. Use your favorite search engine to check out what’s being offered in the vicinity of where you’ll be staying. Book your classes ahead of time to ensure you stay consistent with your daily workout routine. Call ahead and find out if they offer drop-in rates or day passes. Many times, you can even work out on a free pass since you are an out of towner.

Consider workout facilities and opportunities at your destination.

Check to see if your destination has a fitness room available to avoid trying to fit unnecessary items in a limited suitcase space. Most hotels provide guests with a gym and/or swimming pool. Even a small hotel will have at least a treadmill and some dumbbells. You can generally continue with your daily workout with the equipment provided.

If you are staying with family or friends, ask if there is any fitness equipment you can use. When in doubt, you can travel with portable exercise equipment that can fit in your carry on to help you stay active on your trip.  Plan for simple workouts that don’t require much space or equipment.

Have a packing plan.

Preparation is key when it comes to a fitness packing plan. Before adding fitness equipment to your cart, think about what bags you plan to take and whether you’ll have room for everyday essentials along with your gear. When possible, choose items that can fold down or come with a carrying case for easier transport.

Travel-friendly workout gear:

  • Resistance bands
  • Ankle/Wrist Weights
  • Jump Rope
  • Yoga/Pilates Mat
  • TRX All-In-One Suspension Training System

Take advantage of local trails and parks.

Search for walking, running, or park trails nearby your destination and get those steps in whenever you can. Going for a walk can provide much needed physical activity while on the road.

If the weather prevents you from going outside, hit those hotel steps. Most hotels are designed in such a way that you can climb the stairs to the top floor, cross over, run back down to the ground level only to cross over and climb those steps again.

3 | Modify Workouts

Keep in mind that your schedule will likely fluctuate with more holiday activities planned. Make your workouts fit your life, don’t make your life fit your workouts. Don’t hesitate to have dinner with a friend who is town; your workout can be rescheduled or reworked so you can catch up.

Make the most of your time when you have it and find ways to maintain activity when moments arise. Maybe you opt for a walk around your hometown, reminiscing about your childhood crush. Instead of climbing hills on the treadmill, maybe you climb the stairs at your high school stadium.

The point is to stay engaged in with your workout routine without sacrificing living in the moment. Make your fitness goals integrate into your life in a real way that simple, convenient, and fun.

4 | Get a Family Member or Friend Involved

Set a positive example and create a family tradition by incorporating regular physical activity into your holiday routine. Engaging in physical activities as a family creates opportunities for countless memorable experiences. Whether it’s going for a family walk or participating in a holiday-themed charity run, these activities provide moments of togetherness that can strengthen family bonds.

Don’t forget to drag those hometown friends along for ride. Catch up and reminisce about your high school days after a grueling spin class or exhilarating hike. Bonus – exercising with a friend can make it more fun and increase your chances of sticking to your working out plan.

5 | Take Advantage of Downtime

Self-care is never underrated. Planning and preparing are nice, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. Capitalize on moments of downtime to focus on yourself and get some movement in. When your family sits down to watch a football game or take a nap, seize the opportunity, and clock a quick 15–30-minute workout. With that being said, if you are feeling drained after a day full of activities and travel, don’t hesitate to partake in some downtime for yourself. Rest is equally important, especially during the holiday season.

The Takeaway

Staying active during the holiday season can seem like an impossible task. Just remember, any opportunity you have to move your body will be beneficial. Find moments to go for a walk or climb the stairs – any movement throughout the day can help you maintain physical and mental stamina. Remember, you are not obligated to stick to your workout routine. If rest is what you need, rest is what you should focus on – take time off and enjoy visiting with your family and friends.

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