You could spend your New Year’s Day making resolutions to get BACK to being healthy and fit...
...OR you could take steps NOW to ensure you STAY in shape through the holidays.
Here are NINE things you can do that’ll let you to enjoy the holidays while staying in shape.
1. Don’t just WATCH football, PLAY football.
Do you spend time watching bowl games with friends and family? While this can be a great way to enjoy time together, it’s more sedentary than the types of things you do during the rest of the year.
Another pitfall: Pizza, nachos, chips and other snacks are a BIG part of the football watching experience. So, not only are you being sedentary, you’re also packing in high-calorie foods loaded with fat and sodium.
Make it a point to schedule a friends-and-family touch football game prior to watching the big game — or during half time. It‘ll help raise your metabolism and burn some of those calories from snacking. PLUS, playing REAL football is a far better way to build personal connections than just watching a game.
Ask yourself: Do you have to watch every game from your sofa? Could you schedule some of your viewing time at the gym while on a treadmill, elliptical, stairmaster or bicycle? Make it a point to find ways to make the most of your exercise time during the holidays.
2. Go into the season — and every day of it — with a plan.
Even the most disciplined fitness buffs “lose it” every now and then during the holidays. People who maintain a rigorous diet and exercise regimen all year fall off it during the holiday rush.
The best way to prevent this is to have an eating and exercise plan and stay focused on it. Start each day reviewing your plan and thinking about whether you’ll be able to meet it. If you can’t, come up with reasonable compromises that‘ll keep you on track.
For example, if you know you’re attending a big holiday dinner, plan for a smaller breakfast or cut out a snack that day.
3. Stay hydrated.
Dry winter weather, an irregular holiday schedule and drinking alcohol can all lead to dehydration. Not having enough water in your system causes chemical imbalances that negatively impact critical mental and physical functions.
- Aim to drink eight glasses of water every day. (Up that by a glass or two during the dry winter months.)
- Start every day off right with a big glass or two of water.
- Keep a filled water bottle with you throughout the day.
- Drink water or a sports drink during your workouts.
Doing these things will help you maintain peak mental and physical performance, even during one of the most stressful times of the year.
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4. Exercise early in the day.
Its easy to get distracted during the holidays. Whether it’s shopping, going to parties or attending events with the kids, there’s always something to do.
It’s a good idea to schedule your workouts early in the morning, before unexpected interruptions prevent you from doing them. This will go a long way toward maintaining strength and endurance (and your waistline!) through December.
5. Maintain normal sleep patterns.
Studies show that irregular sleeping habits — going to bed and waking up at different times each day — will leave you feeling tired. And if you’re tired, you’ll be less likely to work out.
Make it a point to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Aim to get between seven to eight hours of restful sleep in between. Avoid staying out late at parties. You’ll find yourself feeling more alert and focused within a few days of normalizing your sleep habits.
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6. Plan for the unexpected.
Build a little cushion into your diet and exercise plan during the holidays to cover for that extra cookie or egg nog or missed day at the gym.
Cutting ten percent from your normal daily calorie intake will give you the flexibility to enjoy a treat once or twice a week. Adding 15 minutes to each of your workouts will help you feel more comfortable skipping one every now and then.
You can’t prevent the unexpected, but you can take steps to prepare for it.
7. It’s not all or nothing.
The fittest people tend to be able to forgive themselves. Dieting and exercise are long-term commitments. A little holiday slip-up won’t undo years, months or even weeks of good behavior.
Keep your long-term health goals in mind through the whole holiday season.
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8. Allow yourself a treat.
It can be worse to completely deny yourself treats than to indulge a little.
If you enjoy holiday cookies, egg nog or pecan pie, it’s better to do so in moderation than to deny yourself completely. A single cookie, cup of egg nog or slice of pie will satisfy your craving. Not doing so will keep it top of mind, making it more likely that you’ll chow down the whole cookie jar, jug of nog or half a pie.
Moderation is key for maintaining a successful diet. Enjoy a treat every now and then. However, a treat shouldn’t be “in addition” to your diet. Think about what you can cut or substitute so you can enjoy a holiday snack in good conscious.
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9. Take a day off.
It’s okay to enjoy a day away from exercise. Just don’t let it become a habit.
A break every now and then won’t destroy your fitness plan. In fact, resting your body can be a good thing because it gives it the time it needs to recover.
However, during the holidays, one day off frequently turns into two, three or a week. A long pause can become a sedentary pattern, cutting into even the most disciplined exercise regimn, forcing a restart after the new year.
Remember: Taking a balanced approach to diet and exercise during the holidays will keep you healthy and fit during this challenging time of the year, eliminating the need to make New Year’s resolutions.
The products and information found on this website are not intended to replace professional medical advice or treatment. Statements and claims have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our dietary supplements are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or medical condition. Individual results may vary.
ThinkitDrinkit urges you to seek the advice of a qualified professional for any health concern lasting more than two weeks, and to share with your provider any information pertaining to your health and well-being, including the use of supplemental nutrition.
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