Finding time to exercise is hard. Talk about an understatement! We’re all busy to begin with, and now we get to add on holiday parties, Christmas shopping, putting up decorations, and all the other fun stuff that comes during this time of year.
Plus, so many people plan on starting anew with their health and weight loss goals in January, so who cares if you slip a little (or a lot) in December? I DO. I want you to be happy and healthy every single month. Your heart, your lungs, your muscles, your metabolism… none of them take a break during the holidays, and you shouldn’t either.
Here are three ways you can exercise more during the holiday season. And guess what? You can apply these ideas year-round!
1) Schedule your exercise, and put it on your calendar. Exercise shouldn’t be a “if I get to it” sort of proposition. Look at your calendar, and figure out when (and how often) you can take a half-hour or an hour to get active.
This step requires planning, and, of course, following through with your plan. It may mean keeping a change of clothes in your trunk, because you won’t be able to swing by the house to change. It may mean waking up early to start the day with a long walk or some time at the gym.
Exercise is as important as a doctor’s appointment, picking up your kid from school, or lunch with your pals, so treat it as such, and put it in your calendar alongside those other tasks.
2) Incentivize yourself. Connect exercise with your favorite other activities. Here are a couple examples:
- Do you watch TV or listen to a favorite podcast or radio show while you exercise? Make a deal with yourself that you can only listen or watch your favorite program while on the treadmill or after you complete your workout DVD.
- Eyeing something you want to buy at the store, like new shoes, a new shade of lipstick, or the hot new novel everyone’s reading and raving about? Make yourself an exercise punchcard, like the “Buy Ten, Get One Free” cards that stores pass out. Then, earn your purchase by completing ten workouts! You’ll enjoy your purchase more, thanks to all the sweat equity that went into it.
A note about incentives: DON’T MAKE FOOD A REWARD. Incentivize all you want with other things you love, but leave food out of it. Saying that you can eat a big piece of cake if you exercise first may sound like a good idea, but there’s a good chance that you’ll consume more calories than you burned, which, in the long run, won’t get you closer to your goals. Capitalize on your exercise by making good food choices, instead of granting permission for poor ones, and you’ll come out ahead!
3) Make Exercise Social. Find friends to exercise with. Rope in a neighbor to go walking every morning. Find a group fitness class and go with a buddy. Start a “Workout DVD Club” – like a book club – and once a week, meet up with friends to do a new DVD. (Hint hint, you can rent them at the library, rent them online, or find complete workouts on YouTube!)
Don’t fret if your friends aren’t local. Apps like My Fitness Pal, where you can log your exercise, and others can see it and cheer you on, make it easy to connect with friends all over the place, and even easier to motivate each other to keep going. Or, you can do what me and my friend Debbie did: we live thousands of miles apart, but we devised the Double-D Workout Challenge, which involved tracking and emailing workouts and crafting home-made presents as a reward. It’s a blast, and totally customizable, too!
There you have it, folks! There’s no excuse for not exercising. Just remember these three rules and finish out the year strong! I’ll do the same.
Keep it up, David!
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