“HELP! I’m backsliding, big time, and not getting my exercise in!” say my class participants. Does this sound familiar right about this time of year? Here are my 5 tips on how to get your exercise done between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.
- Schedule it the night before. Don’t just wait for a break in your day to find the time to exercise. The night before, designate a specific time when you’ll exercise. Better yet, make a plan for the whole week on a Sunday and review it the night before. If all of your best laid plans flop, then grab any opportunity during your day to move.
Get your equipment and clothing the day ahead. If being outdoors is what gets you moving, have your gloves, hat, warm pants and coat ready and waiting. If you only have 15 minutes to exercise, you don’t want to take 5 minutes, a third of your exercise time, rooting around in the closet looking for your mittens. If you’re headed for the gym or pool, get your swim or gym bag packed and ready the night before.
- Do your cardio in short bits of time. Decades ago, it was thought that you should exercise for at least 30 minutes to get the full benefit. Now, many studies show that even small bits of exercise add up and give the same good health benefits as long workouts. Grab those 5 minutes throughout your day and it will probably amount to the recommended 30 minutes a day.
Try to fit in a minute of balance and flexibility exercises after your brief walk. Toe and heel raises, like the pictures on the right, can be done anywhere! Do a quadriceps stretch for the top of your thigh – balance on one foot, hold the other ankle, and let that leg relax down toward the floor. Follow up with a hamstring and calf stretch – with feet wider than hip distance apart, hinge back with the hips and lift your toes, using a chair for support. Protect your back by keeping it flat, don’t round it.
- Stand up often! If you’re at a desk, stand up and down 10 times in a row to get your metabolism up, give your muscles some movement, and remind your bones to stay strong. Find excuses to get up, like when answering the phone or reading a memo. Better yet, make or get a stand up desk.
Next blog, I’ll talk about how to do mini-strength training workouts when you don’t have time for a full body workout.
Share how you get your exercise in during the holidays with a comment below!