8 Easy Ways to Stick to a Workout This Holiday Season

8 Easy Ways to Stick to a Workout This Holiday Season

See the 8 easiest ways to stick to a workout plan this busy holiday season.

By: Shelly Reese

The holiday season is frenetic. The weather is often uncooperative, the days are short, schedules are thrown out the window, and — on top of the demands of everyday life — there’s more shopping, baking, wrapping and party-going than can possibly be squeezed into a day.

With all that’s going on, it’s easy to eject exercise from the calendar.

But that’s a huge mistake. Not only does exercise help you burn off all that pumpkin pie and gingerbread, it helps you keep your holiday stress in check. Here are a few tricks to help you stay on track during the holidays.

1. Sneak in Exercise
When you go to the mall, park as far from the door as possible so you’ll have farther to walk. Make a point to deliver gifts on foot to friends and neighbours whenever feasible.

2. Include the Kids
The kids are home from school, the weather is snowy and getting to the gym is a logistical nightmare. What do you do? Improvise! Incorporate kid-friendly cardio activities into your day. Start a snowball fight, go sledding or ice skating, or turn on some music and have a dance party — just a few minutes will get your heart pounding.

3. Use Supersets
Supersets, which exercise opposing muscle groups, are a great way to get a cardio benefit from a strength workout and save time in the process. Use gym equipment to do a set of exercises and then — without resting — immediately move to another device that exercises the opposite or antagonistic muscle group. For example, exercise your quadriceps by performing leg extensions, and then immediately move on to leg curls to work your hamstrings. Supersets are time saving and wonderfully efficient.

4. Take a Class
Busy people know that committing something to the calendar dramatically increases the chance it will get done; so does doing something first thing in the morning. Sign up for an early morning class at your local gym.

Tip: Pay for the class in advance so you’ll be even more motivated to attend!

5. Have a Home Workout
Classes are great, but gym schedules can be erratic during the holidays. Have a home workout plan for the days when the gym is closed or the roads are icy. If you have a favourite workout DVD, dust it off. If not, try interval circuits consisting of exercises such as jumping jacks, lateral jumps, speed skater slides, jogging, jumping rope or plank press-ups.

Select a variety of four cardio exercises, perform each one for 60 seconds, rest a minute and then repeat the cycle as many times as you desire. Top it off with pushups and planks for strength and a few minutes of cooldown and stretching, and you’ve completed a respectable workout.

6. Have a Travel Plan
Visiting relatives? Do a little research in advance to find nearby gyms. If you’re staying in a hotel, make sure it has a workout facility.

7. Plan Ahead
Chances are you’ll be tempted to forego your early morning run the day after the office holiday party. That’s life. Planning ahead helps you anticipate events that might interfere with your workouts and enables you to adjust your schedule accordingly. While you may not be able to maintain your regular workout schedule during the holidays, advance planning can minimize the disruptions.

8. Don’t Stress
The holidays are a busy, stressful time. Don’t let your workouts contribute to that stress. Be realistic about what you can and can’t accomplish.

How do you stick to a workout during the holidays? Share your secrets in the comments below!

Shelly is a writer, wife, mom, runner and artist. When she's not in her office or logging miles, she's in her studio with her kids making a really big mess. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications including Parenting, Prevention and Runner's World.


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