The holidays can be an extremely busy part of the year. For many people, their to-do lists seem to grow longer by the day. Adding exercise might seem like yet another item to add to this never-ending list.

Yet, exercise is also one of the best things a person can do during the holidays (or any time of the year, of course). It can improve your mental and physical health, which can help you at this time of the year and beyond.

It might be easier to incorporate exercise into your schedule than you think. You can:

  • Enlist friends. Are you meeting friends anyway? Exercising in groups allows you to catch up and work out. The social aspect of group exercise provides an added boost to mental health.
  • Work out with Frosty. Do you watch the same television specials and movies every year as part of your holiday tradition? Consider watching as you lift some barbells or pedal a stationary bike.
  • Walk where you can. Park down the street from your destination instead of right in front of it. Consider visiting shops in downtown areas so you can exercise while supporting local businesses.
  • Play tag with the kids. This activity can help you form emotional bonds, burn calories, and help you stay awake after a big holiday meal, no mean feat after enjoying turkey and all of the sides.
  • Give and receive the gift of fitness. Monthly or yearly gym memberships could introduce you and your loved ones to fun new activities led by experienced fitness professionals.
  • Use technology. You can count your steps, measure your calories, or track your exercise goals using fitness devices, your phone, or your computer.

As you know, exercise burns calories. Given that the holidays can be full of rich foods and alcoholic drinks, exercising can help prevent weight gain.

This can create a cycle of positivity. People might feel better about themselves if they exercise and stay at their desired weights. This improved self-esteem could encourage them to continue to exercise and make healthier food choices. This sustains their overall health and could prevent people from turning to drug addiction or alcohol abuse as ways to cope with low self-esteem or poor body image.

And, if people are already exercising, they might be already tackling one of their New Year’s resolutions once January begins. This is no small accomplishment because many people approach the new year with dread and might feel depressed if they don’t fulfill such resolutions.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a burden during the holidays. If anything, getting a little physical activity can help lighten the load during this time and the rest of the year.

Written by guest blogger Pamela Zuber.

 

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