Holidays & Exercise – They Can Go Together!

February 12th, 2013 posted by Karen Millard

Who wants to start planning yet more activity in the midst of already hectic preparations? If you already work out regularly, this is the time of year to concentrate on simply maintaining your fitness levels. If you’re a beginner, you need to concentrate on maintaining your momentum and staying focused on your fitness goals. It’s easy to let workouts slide when you’re tired, stressed and your feet ache. Easy to pass up your walk when you’ve spent the afternoon elbowing your way through crowds in an overheated mall. Easy to skip the weights when your arms and shoulders are throbbing from hauling parcels, groceries and a tired two year old. But there’s a technique you can use to make sure exercise remains a part of your life even on the busiest days. It’s a technique I call dovetailing. To me, this means seamlessly combining two or more activities in the same time slot. It’s what you’re doing when you fold the laundry while you watch T.V. Or what I’m doing when I read my son his bedtime story as he plays in the bathtub. If you’re a mother, this concept probably comes naturally to you by now. Dovetailing can work especially well to help you continue working out during the busy and sometimes exhausting holiday season. Remember, the aim is to combine as many tasks as possible with your workout. I live in a snowy part of the world. Snow shoveling is a fact of life. Snow shoveling, therefore, becomes a workout in itself. My walks get cleared, and I get a cardiovascular and upper body workout. If you’re not already physically fit, it’s important to realize that snow shoveling can be an extremely intense workout. Especially so if the snow is heavy and wet. Be sensible, take the load on your legs, not your back, and be sure to wield the shovel both left and right handed to distribute the effort. Here are other ways you can combine your workout with other activities:

  • Do yoga or lift weights while you watch the holiday specials on T.V. Hey, the laundry can’t take priority every time!
  • Make the time you spend with the kids an active time. Do you have any idea how good it feels to swim at the end of a long, hard day? Just be sure you don’t spend the time sitting and soaking in the shallow end! Or, you could put the little one in a stroller and take him with you on your walk. I used to bundle up my daughter, strap her into the baby-sleigh and walk for miles. She had a wonderful sleigh ride and I got my exercise.
  • Walk as much as you can. If you simply can’t find time to fit in regular twenty to forty minute aerobic sessions, then you’ll need to fit as much activity into your days as possible. If all you have to do is mail the Christmas cards, could you walk to the post office? Could you walk your children to school instead of driving them?

Dovetailing isn’t the only tactic you can use, though. I said this last month but it bears repeating: if you work out at home, you must know yourself. You must know your strengths and weaknesses; your motivations; your high energy times. And you can’t ever kid yourself. If you know you’re going to be exhausted at the end of the day, don’t try and fool yourself that you’ll do your aerobic dancing anyway. Instead, try switching workout times and fitting in a twenty minute session at the start of the day, when your energy level is high. This may not work all year, but during the holiday season, you do what you can. One of the keys to success as a home-based exerciser, is to stay flexible. Luckily, flexibility is a built-in benefit to working out at home. You’ll hear this from me a lot: the most important key to continued workout success, whether at home or in a gym, is simply to show up. Day after day after day. You can’t fail if you don’t ever quit. Do something at least five days a week, twenty to forty minutes at a time, and you will succeed. If it works in the long term you can bet it will work during the holidays. What can you do today, for your body and your health? Go and do it.

Karen Millard (11 Posts)

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Cindy Rowe (7 Posts)

Cindy Rowe is the owner/editor of Crazylou Creations blog. On the blog, you will find a little bit of crazy, and a whole lot of fun! As a FT working mother, she still finds time to create crafts, play around in the kitchen, plan parties and exercise. You'll find all of this and more on her blog!

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