6 Easy Workouts You Can Squeeze in During the Holidays
The holiday season is a magical time. But those weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve can also be a nightmare for your usual schedule. There are gifts to buy, cocktail parties to attend, and family dinners to host. Normal parts of your routine, like eating healthy and making time for the gym, can go out the window when you are rushing around. (You’re probably sweating right now just thinking about trying to finish everything on your to-do list, right?) Luckily you can still find ways to seamlessly fit exercise into your day. Here’s how to get in a quick, easy workout during the holidays.
Take a Holiday Lights Walk
Finish a hectic day of shopping with a nighttime walk to see all the holiday light displays in your town. This is an easy workout the entire family can participate in — or enlist your friends to join you instead. It’ll probably be chilly, which makes it the perfect time to pick up your pace and get in your cardio with a power walk. (To make it harder, try walking backwards, or challenge the youngsters in your crowd to a dash down the sidewalk between one house and the next, as long as the pavement is clear.) For safety, carry a flashlight and dress in light colors that cars can easily spot if you are walking in the dark.
Host a Dance Party
This year, you don’t even need to leave the party to work out. Make exercise part of the fun by cranking up the holiday tunes and encouraging your entire guest list to get up and dance. Consider a game of limbo using a winter garland, or an adult version of musical chairs using a mistletoe instead (whomever gets “caught” under the mistletoe when the music stops has to kiss the closest dance partner on the floor!). It might feel like an easy workout, but dancing burns up to 300-400 calories per hour.
Work Out with YouTube
On days when there’s no time to make it to the gym, you can still exercise from home. In the old days, sticking with your fitness plan meant having to pop in an exercise DVD that you already bought, but thanks to popular YouTube workout options like Yoga with Adriene and Blogilates, it’s easier than ever to get your sweat on. You can try everything from yoga to barre to boxing, all from the comfort of your living room. Some videos are as short as 10 minutes and require no equipment when you need to fit in a really quick workout.
Hit the Ice Rink
When you’ve got family in town, ice skating is a fun activity everyone can enjoy together. Plus, it’s an easy workout and a great way to stick with your fitness plan while socializing with people you don’t see all that often. If you haven’t gone since you were a kid, you might be pleased to hear that working on your Olympic spins and speed can burn up to 460 calories an hour! Even if you’re an ice skating novice, you can feel the burn by doing squats while holding onto the rink railing. Look up local rinks in your area and check to see if they have any special sessions featuring holiday music or lights to up the festive mood.
Start a Family Tradition
Holidays are about spending quality time with your family, but that can be hard when the big game is on. Instead of hanging out on the couch, get the family together for a pre-dinner game of touch football or soccer while everything's in the oven. It's a great way to catch up with cousins and burn a few extra calories. Just make sure to leave someone who doesn't mind sitting on the sidelines to keep an eye on the kitchen.
Do a HIIT Workout
When you need a quick and challenging home workout that will elevate your heart rate and make you sweat, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT). With HIIT, you’ll perform each exercise at 100 percent effort for one minute, followed by up to a minute of rest and recovery. You’ll be working hard, but most HIIT workouts can be completed in less than 30 minutes. You can find several good ones to follow by googling HIIT.
The holiday craze is a fact of life, but it doesn’t have to halt your fitness plans. Squeeze in 20 minutes first thing in the morning — or on your lunch break, while the kids are at basketball practice, or before your in-laws arrive— and make time for an easy workout. If you can’t find time on your own, turn your family outing into a fitness activity — everyone can benefit from a little extra calorie burn before the big family dinner!
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Written by Jane Chertoff