Monday, October 31, 2011

Ways to Stay Active During the Holiday Season

It’s that time again! The time of year we all struggle with. There’s tons of great food that leaves us exhausted and not wanting to move. We know in our heads we shouldn’t have that extra helping of mashed potatoes or that extra piece of pie but we give into temptation. Then as if we were stuffed turkeys ourselves we go and do the worst thing when you’ve overeaten: we lie there with our pants unbuttoned in a state of exhaustion. According to the New England Journal of Medicine the average person gains one pound over the holidays and never loses it. I know, I know, what’s one pound? Well it’s a lot over the course of years. One pound eventually becomes twenty if we’re not careful.

Now I’m not against all those delicious foods and I’m just as guilty as anyone of indulging on Thanksgiving BUT I do try to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible and I want my family to develop healthy habits as well. So indulge in your favorite foods but try one or two of these activities so you can keep some of the holiday weight off this year:

1.      Help out-I noticed many of the women in my family are very fit while a lot of the men tend to pack on weight. I decided to observe to see why this was. One huge difference I noticed was that after a meal the women begin busily cleaning up after dinner while the men go sit on the couch and watch television. Preparing a Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work so make sure everyone in the family has on chore before the meal and one chore after. This will keep them busy and away from the appetizer table before the meal and the dessert table after the meal. Plus staying them their feet will help them burn some extra calories. You’re helping you family stay fit as well as teaching your kids the importance of helping out. Not only will this benefit everyone by keeping them moving but whoever is hosting Thanksgiving will be grateful as well.

2.      Take a walk-You can take a walk right outside your house or plan a beautiful trail nearby to walk on. Plan a scavenger hunt or play a few games to keep kids occupied during the walk. Another fun idea is to have an imagination walk.

Walking game idea: Everyone tries to find five things that begin with the same letter as their first name. If you have several people with the same first letter you can use middle names.

3.      Dance-This is a fun and easy way to burn a few calories. Just put on some music and let everyone get moving. Make sure you have a wide variety of music for everyone and I would recommend having it on CD’s so you’re not looking through the radio to find something.

4.      Plan a family game-Split the family up into a few teams and have a tournament or just kick the ball around. Either way playing a game of soccer, kickball, or softball is a fun way to get the family working together and keep them off the couch. TIP: Have everything set up before the meal because you probably won’t feel like dragging soccer goals out after eating a big dinner. If it’s already set up it’ll be much easier to motivate yourself and everyone else out to the game.

5.      Try some of these activities geared toward kids.

6.      Schedule some fitness into your own schedule. It’s best to schedule this with someone else so that you won’t skip it when you’re feeling full and tired after celebrating the day before. My gym has a turkey buster class the morning after Thanksgiving that I attend every year. You can do something like that or plan a session with a personal trainer or make a date to play tennis or go for a run. Thanksgiving should be just one day and this will help you get back on track if you’ve over eaten. The best way to teach your family to be fit is to model the behavior yourself.

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