The holidays are a wonderful time to be with loved ones, express gratitude, and, of course, eat—a lot. While you don’t want to deprive yourself on such a fun occasion, you also don’t want to go overboard with the gingerbread, lest you get a bit doughy yourself.
Here are four ways to stay healthy and active (without giving up the eggnog entirely).
#1 Start Small
Motivating yourself during the holidays can be tough. Instead of telling yourself that you’re going to run three miles every morning followed by an intensive calisthenics workout, give yourself small, manageable goals that you can actually accomplish. After all, there’s something about the winter months that make a cozy bed, a cup of hot cocoa, and lounging in your pajamas all day extra tempting.
Start by simply committing to stretching in the mornings on your best yoga mat. Soon, that stretching will turn into a quick yoga session, which will eventually turn into a full-on morning routine, once you get addicted to that post-workout feeling. Now that you’re used to being up and moving in the mornings, no amount of holiday feasting can stop you!
Consistency is key here.
As long as you start, you’ll get somewhere.
#2 Get Your Steps in—in Nature!
Whether you’re walking or running, so much can be said for exercising in the great outdoors. During the holidays, the weather is crisp and inspiring, the leaves are changing colors, and your family is around—whether they motivate you to exercise or eat that extra slice of ham is up to you.
Take advantage of the extra company and the lovely weather by popping on your earmuffs and getting 10,000 steps in a day. If you’re really feeling active, pick up the pace and go for a jog.
For the sake of your comfort, posture, and post-run soreness (or, hopefully, a lack thereof), make sure you’re investing in the best trail running shoes possible. You’d be surprised just how much of a difference a boost in footwear quality will make in your athletic performance.
#3 Dance Your Booty Off
Who says working out has to involve dumbbells and weight racks? Throw the dumbbells aside and head to the dance floor instead (in your festive living room, of course)! Okay, maybe don’t actually throw the dumbbells—just figuratively. Anyway, hip hop cardio workouts or Zumba are super fun activities that get your heart pumping and your hips moving.
What better way to stay healthy during the holidays than to turn your celebration of joy into a bit of a workout? Play Jingle Bell Rock to get you in the spirit.
#4 Find Advent Calendars That Are a Bit Less…Chocolatey
Everyone loves a good advent calendar. They’re exciting, mysterious, and make every December morning just a bit better. However, starting off the day with chocolate isn’t exactly the best way to stay healthy.
While that tiny piece isn’t going to shoot through your caloric limit for the day, it will serve as a daily reminder of how delicious chocolate is. And with the holiday season here, it’s not like your advent chocolates are the only sweets around.
Don’t let your daily piece of chocolate turn into three cookies and a red-and-green donut on the side.
Instead, find alternatives to chocolate advent calendars, like ones chock-full of:
- Fragrant teabags
- Festive espresso pods
- Mini makeup products
- Skincare samples
- Unicorn-themed stamps
- Jewelry (if you’re really ballin’ out)
Avoid Black-and-White Thinking
The most important thing to keep in mind during this time is to keep at it, whatever your health goals may be. Don’t let one extra glass of eggnog (okay, maybe it was three…) stop you from exercising for the rest of the month. This is a time to enjoy and indulge. Forgive yourself when you falter and just keep pushing towards your goals. You got this!