Are you making a list? And checking it twice? More importantly, is exercise on that list? The holiday season is undoubtedly a difficult time to keep up with your fitness routine. But as you’re “dashing though the snow” on “busy sidewalks dressed in holiday style,” don’t forget to take care of yourself and stay active. Yes, getting to the gym every afternoon or going on your daily run may not be realistic for the whole month. But … that doesn’t mean you can’t work a little movement and cardio into your hustle and bustle.

So “Giddy-up! Giddy-up! Giddy-up … let’s go!”

  • Park far away. Did you know we’re supposed to take 10,000 steps every day? Positioning yourself a greater distance from your destination and wearing a device that can keep count for you will help you to get those steps in. (Bonus: Parking away from the highly-trafficked, mall-adjacent spots will also help protect your car’s paint job. Wise words my father has shared with me for years.)
  • Take the stairs. Climbing the stairs gets your heart pumping and boosts your cardiovascular health. It also improves your balance and strengthens a number of muscles including the glutes, quads and hamstrings. (Bonus: You also get to avoid the torturous music and awkward small talk in the elevator. You’re welcome.)
Southshore Physical Therapy, Metairie Louisiana, Christmas, puppy, cute, Elf costume
Take on the neighborhood with Santa’s Little Yelper!
  • Walk your neighborhood to see the festive decorations. Twinkling lights on trees, snow-lined rooftops, aromatic greenery, giant inflatable reindeer … every house showcases the holiday spirit of its owners. The daytime and nighttime tours will be totally different. So be sure to experience both. And don’t forget the kids. Or the dog. Or the cat! (Seriously, they make strollers for that.)
  • Use your lunch break. Chances are … you’re just sitting around somewhere scarfing down a quick bite. Why not use this opportunity to get up and move? Whether you go to the gym, attend a class or just talk a walk around the block, the important thing is not to be sedentary. (Grab a smoothie and you can actually multitask. Bonus points if it’s seasonally flavored like Gingerbread Pumpkin Pie.)
  • Get enough sleep. Yes, it’s a little more challenging this time of year, but it’s sooo worth it. Racking up enough ZZZs gives your body the time it needs to rest, recover and rebuild for the next day. You’ll also be more clear-headed, focused and energized to get up and go. (There is literally a Christmas carol telling us to “sleep in Heavenly peace.” And who are we to ignore that advice?)

Michele Robert Poche

This feature is part one in our Holiday Health series. Be sure to check out part two entitled Mindful Eating.