When we glance at our calendars and realize Thanksgiving Day holiday is just around the corner, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Not just one thing, but quite a few things.
From menu planning, shopping, decorating, to coordinating family gatherings, and other aspects. If there is traveling involved, it can seem to add more stress, not to mention the peak travel time is during the holidays.
For traditional store shoppers, the long-awaited and almost sound like the main event – the Black Friday Deals to add to the ‘must do’ list. It marks the beginning of the holiday season only and everyone is going a ton of miles per hour.
The Holiday Season is a special time and should be enjoyed, and not the opposite! Here are fun tips to stay on track during the holidays.
1. Set a Goal
Set achievable goals – break it down into daily or weekly goals. I personally prefer focusing on daily goals, it is much simpler in a sense. Yet, it needs to be something that will help you to push yourself just a little bit more.
For example, if your goal is to maintain your current fitness level, then work something that can be your plan of action to stay on track this holiday season. If your goal is geared towards weight management, then perhaps ask yourself the same question. What is your plan of action?
Stay consistent. Visualize the end results – what it would be like a month or in months ahead, that you achieved the goal you set!
2. Join Local Holiday-Themed Events
Look into your local community events for 5K walk and fun runs held throughout the holiday season. These are family-oriented events. Such a joy to witness families with strollers in tow, people of different ages participating in these events and for many, it is their annual tradition.
- Thanksgiving week – Check for annual turkey trots 5K’s walk or run locally. Usually, these events are held on Thanksgiving morning and a very fun costume event to participate for you and your family.
- Christmas season – A favorite fun annual event to consider like Santa Run (each city has different event names/themes). As a participant, you walk or run a 5K wearing a Santa Claus costume provided by the race organization. Or you can wear a costume of your choice. But, such a beautiful sight to see on the course “A Sea of Santa”!
- New Year’s Day – What a great way to start the New Year and continue to stay active. There are 5K walk or runs, held in some cities on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
- Race Volunteer – Volunteering at any of the above events keep you engaged and at the same time keeps us moving. Events are successful because of their volunteer’s efforts and hard work.
- Other Events – One of my favorites – geared to kick-off the New Year, is the Hot Chocolate Run 5K/10K known as America’s Sweetest Race held from coast to coast in 19 different cities. Couldn’t say NO to chocolates offered at each or almost mile marker. However, the event dates vary throughout the year depending on your location.
3. Be Creative
- Pick an activity you truly enjoy. Virtually an activity of any form like hiking or brisk walking, running, yoga, swimming, or other exercise movements that can help maintain our fitness level. If taking a yoga class is not possible, I found a 10-20 minute yoga session 3-4 times a week that I access through one of the YouTube channels. Yoga has helped me tremendously with strength and flexibility this season.
- Doing an in-home activity YouTube is a great resource for video workouts. ‘Push-Up, Kneeling Push-Up and Plank Challenge’ is something I am currently doing, which I found to be totally doable. This is a 30-day schedule I created for myself (I’m on Day 18 as of this writing). Another option is doing lunges as part of your home workouts. Doing lunges or back lunges can be done by going across hour home hallway to the living room then to the bedroom and back. Ideas are endless. Be creative.
4. Know when to stay indoors
When the temperature starts to drop sometimes well into the winter, we have two choices: stay indoor to keep ourselves warm and toasty, or gear up to head out for outdoor activity.
Some areas are faced with different elements than others – very freezing temperature and snow in the winter months is a challenge.
Be sure to gear up in layers such as high-performance sportswear, preferably long sleeve with moisture wicking technical fabrics. The way moisture-wicking fabric works when worn, and you begin to sweat, it absorbs and releases the moisture for quick evaporation. It is good to add a layer of any fleece material clothing and wear a lightweight waterproof jacket or wind breaker.
If the weather appears to be unsafe for outdoor activity, try doing some of the in-home activities mentioned above. Safety first! An elliptical trainer or bike workout is a good alternative and great low-impact workout for both lower and upper body.
5. Eat and Snack Wisely
It can be challenging for most of us to try and eat healthy, and most importantly eat and snack in moderation. This is the time of the year when food and various festivities are abundant. We tend to eat food because it is there whether it is our favorite or not.
- Eat regular breakfast – Not skipping breakfast helps your metabolism and will aid curb more calorie intake. What we eat in the morning makes all the difference in how we get through the rest of the day.
- Eat a light meal – Before heading to holiday gatherings and events, plan to eat a light meal. Have a meal replacement bar. I personally like the Kind Bars in a variety of flavors available on Amazon or at your local health food store. They’re great for quick snacking and pre-workout nibble! Kind Bar Mini’s are now available in variety packs as well. Any meal replacement bars or snack bars should help make you feel less hungry, thus, help you not to overeat.
- Stay hydrated – Drink more water. A lot of times, we confuse dehydration from hunger. “Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger when really your body just needs fluids,” says Alissa Rumsey, RD, spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Work Now and Play Later
What I mean by ‘work’ is, whatever we focus on now – working these ways to stay on track during the holiday, working our fitness goals, doing something small, even if it is out of our comfort zone.
If you fall short of your goal, it is those small changes you are making now, that can contribute to your health victory – a future healthier lifestyle; happier you; and healthier New Year!
Small changes is an achievement in itself to be celebrated!
Please leave any comments below. Would appreciate any of your fun tips to staying active during the holiday season that you can share here.