The holidays are a joyful time for most, but they also put a lot of stress on us and our routines. We just don’t have the time for everything on our to-do lists, and this usually means our exercise regimens take a back seat to things like shopping, cooking, and parties with lots of decorations. While we’ve been fine with this in the past, this year we’re looking for some easy workouts to keep us on track.
While missing a day or two of our gym time doesn’t make a ton of difference in the long run, the holiday season runs a month or more—and adds a boatload of extra calories to our diets (we’re looking at you, Christmas cookies).
That’s why we were determined to find a way to keep our workouts manageable while still enjoying all the holiday hustle and bustle.
Taking back your exercise plan 10 minutes at a time
Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (or 30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But for most of us, the holiday hustle has us less than enthusiastic about getting our workouts kicked into high gear. Because who really has 30 minutes or more to devote to working out daily during the holiday season? Not us!
We have some good news, though.
Glenn Gaesser, PhD, an exercise physiologist with the University of Virginia, says “it would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mindset that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time.” In fact, micro-bursts of activity throughout the day have been proven to be more effective and easier to commit to on a long-term basis.
We love that we can get all the benefits of a full workout with a few shorter bursts, but we still feel trapped by time—so, we decided to focus on easy workouts we could do while handling our holiday chores.
3 easy workouts that can be done anywhere
Everyone knows that power walking is an excellent exercise, but we definitely don’t have time to dedicate to a treadmill or the track when we’re prepping for holiday parties. Instead, get the most of every opportunity to burn some calories.
As long as you’re walking through the store, why not take a quick power walk up the aisles in one direction and back in the other? It might feel silly, but no one will even notice as they try to decide which belt to buy their hubby.
Instead of sitting in the lounge while you wait for your flight, walk around the concourse. And avoid the escalators and moving carpets—you have calories to burn!
While waiting on your kids
We all know picking up the kids can be a time-suck, so use that time to your advantage by doing laps around the parking lot (or around your car) until school lets out.
Push-ups are one of those exercises that can be done by anyone, as long as you modify them for your fitness level. This also means you can do them almost anywhere there’s a surface—counter, chair, floor—it doesn’t matter which.
Whether you’re baking Christmas cookies or throwing together appetizers for the New Years Eve bash, use the kitchen counter as a base for standing push-ups. Position yourself arm’s length away, and lean into the counter while you push to tone your arms and shoulders.
While watching Christmas movies with the kids
We always want to spend more time with the kids during the holidays—because that’s what they’re all about, right? Family time. Instead of feeling guilty about doing nothing while you watch, why not get some push-ups in? You’ll get your workout in, and entertain the kids at the same time.
Working your core is one of the most beneficial exercises you can do—especially for battling that holiday weight-gain. Since they don’t require anything other than knowing what to do, you can do them at any time, anywhere.
While Riding an Elevator
Standing still no longer needs to be a waste of time. Instead, work your abs with some core exercises. All this requires is standing relaxed with your feet planted under your hips, and contracting the muscles around your belly button. Then lift your chest so it stretches your ab muscles slightly, and release. You can even add to this move by contracting your buttocks muscles for a couple seconds.
While Decorating the House
Squats are considered the best exercise you can do because they use multiple muscle groups at the same time. While you’re deciding where to hang each ornament, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, tighten your core, extend your arms out in front of you for balance, and sink down into a sitting position. Hold it for a few seconds, then slowly stand back up and release your core.
A squat for each ornament will have your butt and abs worked out like never before. Just make sure you aren’t pushing your knees out in front of your toes—they should remain right above your feet with your butt pushed out behind you. This is where the extended arms help you keep your balance.
While Unwinding at Night
We all need time to unwind at night before going to bed—there’s no shame in that. But while we’re catching up on our favorite Netflix Original, we feel guilty about not working out. All you need to do to combat this guilt is plank it out.
Put your forearms flat on the ground with your elbows lined up with your shoulders. Then raise your body weight off the floor on your toes (or your knees, for beginners) while keeping your spine and hips aligned. Hold it for as long as you can while you keep your core muscles contracted.
All exercise can be effective if done properly, and although these are quick and easy workouts, technique is key in ensuring you don’t overstrain or even hurt yourself. To make sure you’re doing these exercises properly, check out ACE (American Council on Exercise). They have descriptions on just about every exercise you could want to do.
Taking it One Step Further
Another great way to power through the holiday chaos is to drink. No, we don’t mean alcohol.
Drinks like CELSIUS provide 100% of your daily B and C Vitamins, as well as Green Tea Extract to help you keep energy levels up and calories burning while you enjoy every moment of the holiday madness. They’re a great addition to your easy workouts, and can be used as a pre-workout drink or an alternative to coffee and other caffeinated drinks. To add them to your holiday workout bag of tricks, find them on Amazon or at a local store.