Reminder: The American College of Sports Medicine’s recommends 150 minutes of moderate activity or 20 to 60 minutes of vigorous cardio three times a week, plus strength training and stretching. How’s that working out for you during this pandemic? And now that the holidays are almost here, do you even have a chance of keeping up with your exercise routine? YES, you can do it!
What you need is a plan. You may have heard the expression “make your plan then work your plan” as the guiding principle for accomplishing almost anything you set your mind to. Fitness is no different. So here we’re going to share some top fitness experts’ tips for working in your workout in the coming weeks of celebration.
So many simply abandon their exercise routine until the new year making it harder on themselves in January.
Here’s another factoid: Research shows that half the weight you gain over the holidays takes until the summer months to come off — if it comes off at all.
Rather than giving up and giving in to the holiday cookies, cakes, big carb-loaded dinners and the like, one personal trainer advises his clients who have an existing fitness routine to compress their workouts into short but intense sessions that get your heart rate up and build strength. He’s talking about 20 minutes three or four times a week. Then get back to your regular routine right after the new year starts.
Here are some good, specific, short workouts to give you the maximum benefits in the shortest amount of time over the holidays:
- Try squeezing in 15 to 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) on the treadmill or at the park, raising your heart rate to 80% of maximum in one running interval for three minutes, then lowering it to 60% in the following three-minute recovery period by walking or slowing to a light jog. Repeat the sprint-and-recover intervals three or four times each workout.
- If you’ll travel over the holidays, it can be especially hard to keep up with your strength routine. So, pick just a handful of basic bodyweight-based strength exercises that can be done anywhere – lunges, squats, pushups, plank-ups— at your in-laws’ house or an airport layover. Set a timer on your phone for one minute and crank out 15 reps of one, rest for the remainder of the minute and then switch to the next exercise. Repeat the exercises in this every minute on the minute (EMOM) circuit three times a session at least three times a week.
- Find a way to squeeze in mini workouts throughout the day. Called “exercise snacking” in the fitness industry, it means doing at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time two or three times a day when you can find the time. You will get the same benefits of a longer session if you commit to it.
- If you know you have a party or family gathering coming up on a Saturday evening, make sure to schedule an exercise session on your calendar for that afternoon. Yes, put it on your calendar, set a reminder. It’s more of a commitment if you write it down. That evening, you’ll feel better and can indulge without all the guilt
Here’s another research finding to motivate you: Again, research shows that taking just a week or two off from exercise can erase months of favorable metabolic gains and gaining just 1 percent of your body weight can have serious health implications.
Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot of activity to prevent both of those things from happening. So try these tactics to help you survive the holidays with your health and fitness intact:
- Make a pact to exercise with a friend or group of friends. It’s a great way to motivate yourself over the holidays. Even if you don’t workout together, checking in with someone else daily will make you think twice about skipping a workout session. And if your friends are all couch potatoes, head online to find an accountability partner. Around the holidays especially, social media is bursting with workout challenges and support networks. Or check out the forums on fitness-oriented sites and apps, like MyFitnessPal and Spark People.
- Your local gym will almost certainly be offering specials on membership fees, class packages and even monthly rates during the holidays. In fact, you may be able to enjoy free trial periods at multiple facilities. Not only can this practically get you through the whole season on the cheap, but it’s also the perfect way to compare facilities and find the one that offers the best mix of value and services.
When in doubt, just move. It’s easy to say you don’t have time, but everyone has a few minutes to devote to feeling better. Park far from the store where you’re shopping, drop into pushups during that Christmas special or walk with the kids through your neighborhood looking at holiday lights and decorations. Any time you can devote to a structured, though shorter, exercise program is great, but take advantage of any opportunity to move. It is literally better than nothing.
We want everyone to enjoy the holidays—perhaps this year more than ever but go into this holiday season with a resolution for moderation. Then spend quality time with your family, enjoy some delicious foods, and take a break from their normal grind. But try these tips to help you do your best to keep up an effective exercise program until you get through the holidays and start those 2021 New Year’s resolutions.
Look for some in-home exercise tools in our eStore. Many – like the Gorilla Bow – are good for travel!
Happy Thanksgiving to all from all of us at Heartline.