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How to Keep Holidays Healthy and Happy - Part 2


How to Keep Holidays Healthy and Happy, Part 2

Are you dreading the weight you will put on this holiday season? Fight back with these tips on exercise.

By Star Lawrence
WebMD Feature: Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

The parties, sweets, alcohol, missed workouts, late nights, mall-crawling, small talk, family issues, breathing air on crowded planes - ah, it's the holidays. The experts say you need to get in training and be mindful to stay healthy and stress-free.

"Diet, exercise, mind and spirit are key," says Laurie Steelsmith, ND, a naturopath in private practice in Honolulu and author of Natural Choices for Women's Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness. "You need to build up to this time of indulgence.

"We need to remember what this is all about: connecting with loved ones," Steelsmith says.

Exercise Tips for Holiday Health

Fabio Comano, a certified trainer at the American Council on Exercise, recommends plunging in and getting in shape now, knowing that the holidays will bring a few pounds. "Most people tend to put on weight in winter," he tells WebMD. "It's part of our (biological) survival pattern, a little like animals packing it on for hibernation."

Comano thinks the holidays are stressful enough without loading yourself down with unrealistic exercise goals. "If you exercise 45 minutes a day, you may only be able to do 30 minutes," he says.

  • Start the day with deep-breathing and meditating (if you meditate).
  • Take a walk before a meal, then one after. Or take a walk after dinner but before dessert.
  • If you bake cookies as gifts, walk them around to the neighbors' houses.
  • If you exercise in the morning normally, keep up that schedule. Just don't skip.
  • Buddy up with a family member. Walking is a good time to catch up.
  • Start some family traditions that are active, such as cross-country skiing.
  • Gillespie recommends make-work projects, such as setting the table one piece at a time and returning to the kitchen in between. "Put on some holiday tunes and dance!" she urges.
  • Don't stress out about exercise. It's the other way around - exercise eliminates stress!

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