Your holiday schedule is full with parties and events, but that doesn’t mean you have to put on the dreaded holiday weight. Consider these dos and don’ts to make it a happy and healthy holiday season.
Use cardio equipment with good form
We all flock to treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes as the air turns cold, but you may not be burning as many calories as the machine indicates if you’re not using good form. Good form starts with good posture, standing tall with the abs pulled up and in, chest out, and shoulders back. If using an elliptical machine, keep the hips stable and resist the urge to bounce as you try to go faster. You won’t burn any additional calories bouncing around! To keep the hips steady, bend the knees and sit your bottom lower. This will make the legs and core muscles work much harder, and you will burn more calories during your workout — something of extra importance during the holidays.
Increase cardio intensity to decrease workout time
That means using intervals to increase the intensity. Play around with speed and incline intervals on the treadmill or resistance intervals on the elliptical or bike. If you only have 10 minutes and access to a treadmill, walk at a comfortable speed, but increase the incline one level every minute. By minute 10, you should be at a 10.0 incline and breathing heavily.
Give yourself or a loved one the gift of fitness
If you’ve always wanted to work with a personal trainer or take dance classes, make that a gift to yourself. Or, if you know a loved one would like to improve their tennis or golf game, give them a few sessions with a professional instructor. These are gifts that will keep on giving — your body will thank you for it.
Forego working out to get something else done
The holidays are a busy time, but you still need time for yourself. If you look forward to yoga or zumba class each week, don’t give it up. You’ll feel much better after working out and will have more energy for everything else.
Give up on eating healthy
It’s never too late to get back to healthy eating, even if you splurged the day before. Just because you had too many cookies one night doesn’t mean you’ve completely ruined your diet. The worst thing you can do is throw in the towel and give up. If you had too much the day before, get right back on track with a healthy breakfast and lean protein, fresh vegetables and whole grains the next day.
Forget the importance of water
Try to limit cider, eggnog, soda and alcoholic beverages, as these drinks will not keep you hydrated and are sure to pack on the pounds. Carrying a water bottle with you during the day will keep you hydrated and your energy level high.