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7 ways to integrate fitness into your holiday plans

ft. Emily Abbate

We wait all year long for the holidays. Come December, there’s nothing more enjoyable than taking the time to catch up, indulge in seasonal treats, and swap gifts with good friends and family. Only happening once every 365 days, the festivities often include some travel and — in turn — a break from your normal routine. Your regular morning miles may take a back seat when you’re up early to bake with Mom and Dad, which can make you a tad stressed. Especially after days on end of indulging.
Family, gifts, scheduling, and parties all add to stress around this time, says Jesse Lewis, DPT, CSCS, and owner of District Performance & Physio in Washington D.C. Exercise is one of the most researched ways to keep stress levels under control. Keeping a regular exercise routine around this time is one of the best ways to manage stress.

1. Crush through a bodyweight circuit

Pick a few movements, and string them together for a fun circuit. Lewis recommends starting simple, alternating between squats, push-ups, planks, side planks, and lunges. “When you’re traveling and at a place where you are away from your home gym, your body can be your best tool,” he adds. Perform 15 reps of each before moving on to the next. Repeat two times.

2. Commit to short bursts

While you may not have an hour in the morning like usual, there surely will be breaks throughout the day where you can integrate a little bit of something says Chris Cooper, a trainer in Long Island, New York. Doing small bouts of exercise during the day helps keep our momentum going, even if it’s not the full gym workouts we were doing before, he adds. Sometimes the best strategy is to just show up and do something.

This could look like 30 squats while you’re waiting for something to simmer on the stove, then tackling a bunch of alternating forward lunges later while you’re setting the table. Remember: Every little bit counts.

3. Skip out on online shopping

The holidays are synonymous with presents, and although it could be tempting to get it all done on the Internet — visiting the actual stores is a great way to get those steps in. Head to a big mall plaza or outdoor shopping venue, suggests San Diego-based trainer Lisa Yee. Every time you purchase something walk it back to your car. Turn on the stopwatch, and try to make it fun by trying to beat your previous time.

4. Head out for a run

The best thing about running is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. All you need is your sneakers and some motivation. Even better? Download a new podcast episode or playlist to keep you entertained while you pick up the pace.
Remember: Just because you don’t have an extended period of time to go out and tackle six miles, doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort. If that sort of situation arises, spice things up with intervals, suggests Lewis. The higher intensity bouts short bursts will increase your heart rate and add some diversity to the workout.

Even more fun: Find yourself a holiday-themed race. From turkey trots to jingle bell runs, loads of local communities make activity festive once the season hits. With distances ranging from 5Ks to full marathons, tap a friend to join in with you.

5.  Turn catch-up moments into workout opportunities

If you’re headed back home for the holiday, its likely there will be a ton of different friends and family members that you want to make time to catch up with. Rather than getting together for a drink or meal, meet up with friends over a lunchtime class at your fitness club, take a snuggly winter walk with a loved one, or plan a snowy outdoor activity with the kids, suggests personal trainer Amanda Dale. Use activity to bond with those you don't see very often, she says. It's a great way to get conversations and laughs going.

6. Get to Streaming

These days, more and more companies are offering up high-quality streaming workout content that you can do anywhere at any time. Ranging from just five minutes to an hour, start with video on social platform.

7. Create a family challenge

Working out with a "more capable" partner can encourage you to work out for longer, according to research published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology. Maybe you’re the one who could use a boost, or Mom and Dad need some extra motivation. Pair up using a smart app to challenge your loved ones to a family workout challenge. Physical Activity data will be uploaded into the Technogym mywellness, a web-based platform that manages physical activity/exercise data.

mywellness app
With mywellness, you can manage your training data in the gym, at home, outdoors and on mobile devices. You can also integrate indoor training with your daily activities and outdoor training (running or cycling) directly via the GPS functions and the accelerometer on your smartphone. The platform can also be integrated with the most popular wearable devices and tracking applications such as Apple Health, Runkeeper and Strava.
The competitive nature of the event is motivation enough to get up and moving around, says trainer Jamie Hickey. Set a fun prize for the winner and let the fun begin.

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