Healthy Holidays: Built in exercise

by mary on November 22, 2011

What if some of those holiday events crowding your calendar and disrupting your routine could actually help you meet your fitness goals? Make it happen by picking a holiday event or two that involves exercise.

Many towns host low-key Turkey Trots, often benefitting local food banks. Walking or running in a Turkey Trot could be a nice way to spend some time together and work up an appetite for the holiday meal. Or just catch up and go for a walk around the neighborhood together. The non-chefs can walk before the meal, the chefs can walk after the meal while everyone else cleans up.

When friends and relatives visit, find a way to get outside together. Many gardens and zoos have holiday light displays, which could be another way of celebrating the holidays and getting a little exercise at the same time. For those of us in cold areas or with nearby mountains, county parks and Sno-Parks offer snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

No equipment? Go sledding and then build a snowman. Some of our kids’ favorite winter memories are of sledding at the Sno-Park. And it wasn’t just the kids speeding down the hill- kids love watching you slide down and plow into piles of snow.

Getting a $5 or $10 permit to cut your own tree on National Forest land is another way to combine getting outside with holiday spirit. Even cutting your own tree on a farm can provide a little exercise, at least if you spend as long walking around and picking one out as we do. Bring a thermos of something hot- spiced cider, maybe?

For my own holiday exercise, I’m skating in a local ice rink’s holiday show. Last year my friends and I chased Santa in this silly group number.

It all goes with my number one rule for exercise– make it fun.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Bill November 22, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Love those suggestions!

It’s critical to make exercise a part of your normal life, so that its something that’s no-brainer and fun. I can hardly imagine driving to the gym and getting on an elliptical machine on Thanksgiving… but going for a walk sounds great!

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