Let’s face it. Even if you’ve managed to make exercise part of your regular daily routine, all of that can fly out the window when the holidays arrive — between travel, hosting, cooking and gift-buying, you may not be able to take the walk or jog that you’re used to, let alone get to the gym. That’s when it’s time to look for opportunities to wedge in movement wherever you can.
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If you’re hosting, you have to choose specific times when it’s OK to get away and go for a walk or a run — following a big meal, for instance. While everyone else is snoozing in front of the TV in the living room, you can sneak out for a walk or a jog. Or you can see if anyone wants to join you.
If you’re visiting others, you can use Google and other internet search engines to find paths and back roads near your host’s house for walking, biking or jogging. It’s also good to have some pre-planned workout routines. These can be yoga, calisthenics like push-ups and jumping jacks, and burpees. Bring resistance bands, which you can use just about anywhere for building strength. You can bring along workout DVDs or find exercise routines online at sites like Plankk.
Traveling presents its own unique hurdles, but with a little planning, you can clear them with distance to spare. Airports, especially large airports, offer ample opportunities for walking. Once you’ve settled into the departure gate, you can have a friend or family member watch the bags while you take a brisk walk around the terminal. Between the shops, restaurants and your fellow travelers, you’ll have plenty to look at. If you’re traveling alone, you can pull your suitcase on wheels and/or carry your backpack, which presents an additional physical challenge. You can also find secluded areas to practice yoga or carry out any other workout routine.
On long flights, be sure to get up and walk the aisle periodically. It can help keep your knees and hips from stiffening and reduce the risk of blood clots forming in your legs, a potential risk when sitting still for too long.
If you’re taking a long drive, it’s important to stop periodically and go for a walk. Most rest areas offer plenty of room to walk around, and you might be able to find a park along the way to take a scenic stroll.
Remember: There are often ways to get your exercise if you do a little advance planning.
Want to learn more about maintaining your health during the holidays? Read “Master Holiday Health Pitfalls,” “Have a Relaxing Holiday: 7 Tips to Relieve Seasonal Stress,” “The Holiday Meal Survival Guide” and “Navigating the Holidays.”