Showing posts with label Health goals. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Health goals. Show all posts

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Five Tips to Staying Fit Over the Holidays

The best gift you can give yourself during the holiday season is keeping on target with your health goals, such as weight management or physical fitness.  Temptations abound when friends, family, and co-workers gather for holiday feasts.  Fitting in a regular health routine, such as running, walking, gym time, or yoga sessions, gets hard when your life routines are put on a back burner in exchange for time off, vacations, and travel. These 5 holiday fitness tips can help you enjoy the celebrations with less post-holiday regret.

Santa doing yoga

Tip #1 – Make smart dietary choices

We’ve assembled a collection of tips on how to celebrate this season without adding a layer of lard to your midsection.  Navigate those “treacherous six weeks between Thanksgiving and the New Year,” as the the National Council on Strength and Fitness (NCFS) describes it, with holiday dieting tips at Tis the Season to Eat Healthy.

Tip #2 – Take what you can get

You may not have that regular block of time that you normally reserve for your daily bike ride, walk, or other exercise.  But remember, any movement is better than none;
  • Even if you only have five minutes to get physical, you can make those five minutes count by using the Tabata technique for fast fat burning. 
  • Ate too much to do a hard, albeit short, workout?  Then at least take standup breaks every 20 to 30 minutes to protect your heart and reduce fat buildup.  Learn more in our articles Is Sitting Bad for Your Health? and Make a Motion–Daily!
  • At the mall for some Christmas shopping? Keep in mind that walking up the stairs takes about the same amount of time as standing on the escalator, and less time than a slow elevator, yet burns a whole lot more calories.

Tip #3 – Make new places an adventure

When away from home for a holiday visit, it’s easy to forego your regular exercise.  This is when your imagination can make all the difference.  Before you leave home, plan out new places to go for your workout:
  • If you enjoy trails, simply google “trails near Phoenix,” or whatever city you’ll be visiting, and you’ll find many sites to guide you into new territory.
  • Or do a bit of online research to find a gym in your destination town that can substitute for hometown fitness center. 
  • If you enjoy biking but came in on a plane without yours, ask to borrow one from a relative or your relatives’ friends or neighbors.
  • For a real adventure, check to see if there are any holiday season meetups related to your preferred form of exercise.  Many towns have running groups, bike clubs, or ultimate Frisbee gatherings where you can workout and make new friends. 
To make sure these away-workouts happen, make a written plan of where you are going during your trip and when.  Also, talk with your relatives about your plans so they have a chance to not double-book your workout with a family event. 

Family walking in the snow

Tip #4 – Make inclement weather an opportunity

If you know you’ll be traveling for the holidays to a place with lots of rain or snow, plan for it rather than shy away from it.  Little known fact: humans are mostly waterproof.  Just take the right kind of outerwear to manage your body temperature, and you can take a jog or walk in just about any weather.  Just remember to play it safe; if weather will limit visibility, wear safety reflective gear or a clip-on LED flasher to make yourself more visible to others.

Tip #5 – Invite relatives

If those whom you’re visiting might be offended if you’re going off and doing your own thing to stay fit during the holiday visit, then don’t do it alone; invite them to join you!
  • Going for a walk?  Invite everyone and make it a post-feast stroll to burn calories and encourage talk.
  • Start a family holiday tradition with an organized sport, such as touch football, disc golf, or even a rousing round of ultimate Frisbee.  Even if some of your relatives are not up to the challenge of participating, they can get in on the fun by refereeing or cheering on from the sidelines – both of which are much healthier for them than zoning out in front of the television.
The fact is that most adults gain an average of a pound a year – which can add up over a decade or two – and most of that weight gain occurs while you’re celebrating during the November/December holidays.  But heed these five holiday fitness tips and you can win the battle of the bulge this holiday.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This Autumn, Don’t Fall Down on Your Fitness!

Okay, just one more pun, then we’ll get down to serious business; don't "leaf" your fitness behind, or your behind will show it!

There.  That’s out of the way.

But seriously, it would be a shame to let the benefits you got from your summer’s fit-living lifestyle go bye-bye, right?


But, how do you keep on track with health goals when the weather dampens your will to get fit? When your routine is tied to fair weather, like biking, running, walking, tennis, or other great summertime exercises, how do you not lose your mojo and, as a result, lose your muscle tone or aerobic fitness?

The trick is to get into the Autumn spirit and – one more pun, sorry – “Fall” into a new fitness plan, one that keeps your heart healthy, builds bone and muscle strength but doesn’t rely on good weather.

Flab-fighting Fall Fitness Tips

Here are four fun exercise tips to help you keep up an active lifestyle all through the changing weather that Fall brings. 
gym membership
Health goals don't have to suffer.
Maintain an active lifestyle in cool


Tip #1:  Ex-foli-age! 

Sure, being outside when the weather requires you to bundle up is a bit of a hassle.  But make it fun by celebrating the weather change; when the leaves begin to fall, what better time could there be to enjoy scenic local parks, especially those that are known for their Fall foliage. Walking, jogging, tossing a ball around, even raking leaves are ways to get exercise during cooler weather and "shed" those extra inches.

Tip #2:  Take a walk on the mall side!

Let’s say you’ve been going to town with a summer walking routine, but bundling up for cold weather just doesn’t trip your trigger. No worries. Head to the local mall with your walking buddies. Many malls open a couple of hours before the stores open, or stay open an hour or two after stores close. It's a perfect time to take a brisk walk at the mall by yourself or with a friend because the food court isn't open.

A family trip to a museum is a great way to add walking for yourself and your family. Many museums have free or discounted admission days.You’ll not only be burning calories but building memories.

Tip #3:  Gettin’ gymy with it – gym methods that work! 

The gym is the first refuge of the foul weather exerciser.  However, Medical News Today reveals a discouraging bit of news. Even though record numbers of people sign up at fitness clubs for gym memberships, 80 percent of them go unused.

Big fitness center plans often fizzle out because machine training routines become monotonous and there's a lack of camaraderie – someone to share the experience with. So then, the trick is to make your gym club workout enjoyable.  But how?  Here are a few ideas:
  • Join a bud – finding a friend to share your gym routine and, at the same time, an invigorating conversation with can make a tedious workout fly by with ease. 
  • Set workout improvement goals – even if you’re working out alone, the easiest way to get past the hamster-wheel doldrums of a machine workout is to make the machines work for you. Set goals by using the stepper’s or treadmill’s data readouts to map your progress toward a goal.
  •  Join a class – If you’re not sure about certain kinds of gym equipment or sports, sign up for a class.  Most gyms have fitness classes or sports leagues designed to bring people of like interests together.
  • Make it a family affair – Some fitness centers encourage families to work out together with family oriented fitness classes. Fitness clubs with an indoor pool usually have family swim times, letting your kids continue to have fun in the water no matter how bad the weather is outside. 
  •  Go long for big weight loss –  It's true that any workout is better than no workout at all. But if your goal is to lose weight, remember that your body keeps burning calories long after your workout is over. This is especially true with weight-bearing exercises. According to a USA Today article, a 45-minute workout can keep you burning calories for hours after a workout. 


Tip #4:  Get “eventual” 

Events are big in the Fall, and they can turn a routine summer workout into a special and memorable Autumn event. Sign up for a cancer run or walk in your area. You'll be helping your body and supporting cancer research.

There are other events that will make you forget the temperature such as the Run For Your Lives 5K Zombie obstacle courses running from October through December. The obstacle includes actors dressed as zombies who try to “tag” you as you try to get to the finish line before being tagged out.  At a time like that, the weather will be the last thing on your mind!

Try a Color Run to liven up your running experience. Beginning in October and "running" through next year, they are coming to a city near you. Experience level doesn't matter. The run is for beginners and novices alike and money is raised for a local charity in each city.

But use good sense…

Exercise is fun but you want to be safe. Make sure you’re up to the challenge of these fun Fall workouts by seeing your doctor for a physical and health assessment.Then, with his or her blessings, fall into fun this Fall as you stay in shape.

Ric Moxley
Contributing Writer