Keeping Up Your Fitness Level over the Holidays


It can be incredibly difficult to convince yourself to get out and exercise during the holidays, especially if you live in an area where the weather is cold and wet in December, or if there’s lots of good food and a warm fire at home. The period surrounding the new year is one of the biggest challenges to fitness, and in order to make it through without too many setbacks, you have to be both smart and reasonable about your choices.

First of all, give up on the idea that you’re going to be out there every single day, doing it with the same intensity as if it were May or any other month. Unless you’re a serious competitive athlete, training for a major event that is the sole focus of your life, it’s just not going to happen. For one thing, it’s likely that your gym will be closed at least some of the time at the end of December and beginning of January, and if you’re not a gym person, then there’s both the weather and family concerns to deal with. It’s very difficult to get an hour of Pilates done everyday with people having a celebration in the next room.

What you can do, however, is make a modified version of your normal fitness regime, and take into account any plans you have so that you can work around them. You may not be able to make it out for a run every morning on your own, but going out for a brisk walk in the afternoon is something you can do with someone else, maybe taking the dog along and heading out to a park. It can become a social activity, as well as a way to work off any of the caloric damage you might have done over lunch.

If your gym has shorter hours or is closed some days over the holidays, you’ll have to make ways to exercise on your own. Exercise DVDs can be useful if you can find the time and space to do them, or you can just do some toning work on the floor of your bedroom, or on an exercise ball. It may not seem like much to be doing a few crunches or leg lifts everyday, but it’s certainly better than nothing, and most importantly it keeps you in the habit of daily exercise, which will make it much easier to get back into the swing of things after the new year than if you’d been doing nothing at all.

Try not to be too hard on yourself for whatever breaks you do decide to take over the holidays. Fitness is a lifelong committment, and life is about adapting to all the changes that are thrown at you. It is unrealistic to expect that an average person is going to be able to find time for a full workout every day during the holidays, but if you can fit in a bit here and there, even just for a short while in the morning, it can help you maintain your fitness level so that when you start back up after the holidays are over, it will be much easier to pick up where you left off.

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