Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Stay Active During the Holidays

With the increased demands on us, it’s easy to give up exercise during the holidays. Who has time for trips to the gym or exercise classes when there is shopping, decorating, mailing, baking, and so forth to accomplish? People intent on enjoying their holidays do! Actually, maintaining your exercise program is essential to getting the greatest pleasure from your holidays.

Given the hectic pace, be creative in your approach. Rather than eliminate exercise, look for ways to modify your regular routine. Cutting the time in half is better than skipping it altogether. Take a walk during your child’s piano lesson. Try NEAT, non-exercise activity thermogenesis, to expend calories by building activity into your day. Stand rather than sit, and pace rather than stand. Return telephone calls on your cell phone while walking, ironing, or folding laundry. Park at a distance from the store, and make several trips to the car. Strive to take the stairs everywhere, and be less efficient at home to take the stairs more often.

Keep in mind that activity is an effective way to alleviate stress. Consider trying yoga, a wonderful relaxation technique. Besides the great physical benefits it affords, yoga harmonizes the body with the mind, enabling people to perform activities efficiently while enhancing overall satisfaction. Need something simpler? Take a brisk walk and spend quiet time alone or invite a loved one and talk out your stress. How about dancing? Music is a terrific mood enhancer, and the aerobic movement will energize you and release excess emotion after a stressful day.

Finally, when planning your holiday activities, include those that get you and others moving. Set up a caroling event or tree-trimming party. When dividing the tasks among family members, choose to decorate or go shopping. Volunteer for a local charity wrapping gifts, delivering gift baskets, or serving food. Make your family outings and events active. Walk off your holiday dinner and enjoy the lights, go skating, or clear the living room for dancing.

Whatever you choose to do, make it fun and have your best holiday yet this year!

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