For many people, the shift from December to January brings with it a significant change in priorities. Physical fitness and exercise often finds itself pushed aside during hectic holiday schedules and buried under plates of Christmas treats only to reemerge a month later as one of our most common and enduring New Year’s resolutions.
It is not necessary for the change to be that dramatic, however, because it may be easier than you think to build healthy habits even in the midst of the holiday traditions. Here are some tips to help you begin or maintain healthy habits throughout December:
Be flexible when your days get busy. If your typical time to exercise conflicts with a holiday party, for example, that doesn’t mean you have to choose one over the other. You can still exercise by waking up an hour earlier and taking a walk before work, or opting for a brisk walk during your lunch hour. No matter how busy you are, you always have time to move.
Figure out ways to combine exercising and family commitments. For example, haul the kids up a hill a few times so they can sled back down. You’ll build muscles and memories at the same time.
Book a long weekend getaway somewhere warm for January or February. Anytime you feel like slacking off, think about how you’ll want to look when you’re relaxing on the beach.
Create a workout routine that you can complete without going to the gym. Being stuck in the house doesn’t mean you can’t do crunches, pushups and many other exercises that don’t require any equipment.
Walk! Whether you’re taking the family on a hike through the woods or taking a stroll through the stores of a mall, walking is an exercise that you can do no matter where you are.
If the air feels too cold to breath, stay inside. Part of staying healthy is listening to your body’s cues. Cold air can trigger exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath.
And finally, try asking Santa for some weights, a treadmill, an elliptical machine or a stationary bike. Having your own equipment and knowing how to use it will keep you motivated and help you stay on track.