Activity for “Fit, Not Fat” this Holiday Season

Day 3 Laughter and Play crop

For most of us the holiday-Christmas season is full of busy days we anticipate and embrace. However, our desire and decision to be all-in with heart and soul can position ourselves for eating more (especially the sometimes* foods); not sleeping as well in a strange bed and a different environment; and managing schedules more than a little off kilter –  all of which can mess up our digestive system, affect our mood and alter our attitude and overall health.

Enter activity – the second A in our BALANCE acronym.

At In Balance we recommend doing a variety of activities for health, which may play out differently during the Christmas season than the rest of the year. Rather than thinking you’ll suspend, and then pick up fitness and activity habits for health later, in the New Year, why not plan to extend your wellness right through the holiday season!  

Functional activities are those where we are physically active while also accomplishing a task or project. These kind of activities:

  • Walking to the library to fetch a book waiting for you or favourite Christmas DVD.
  • Vacuuming while grooving to your favourite holiday tunes (which is pretty sure to add to everyone’s happiness besides encourage some hip-hop partners!).
  • Walking three blocks (or five or ten) to attend your traditional holiday matinee – or at the minimum, walking from the furthest end of the theatre parking lot.
  • Transferring that pile of firewood into neat stacks in the woodshed – might get some volunteers to join you.

For sports-focused activity check the schedules at recreational facilities which often accommodate families out of school for the holidays. Encourage visitors, a.k.a. grandparents – to join in the action to help get everyone moving. Could be:

  • A family swim at the pool.
  • Lacing up the skates and doing laps at the arena or on the pond – how about a game of shinney hockey?
  • A group run to view Christmas lights or a solitary trail run or walk through a nearby park.

Encourage household guests to explore these options, allowing and respecting choices influenced by personal preference and body type.

Short periods of higher intensity exercise is the perfect way of fitting in exercise on a tight time budget. Warm up muscles with a slow run on the spot or a short walk down the street, then:

  • Run repeats up and down your stairs. Depending on your fitness level, allow for a minute or more recovery time between sets. Do a cool down and short stretch after.
  • Follow the stairs idea above but substitute with walking or running outside. The higher intensity sections can be from one light-post to the next – or so many houses on the street.

Be diligent in those speed spurts, do take the recovery interludes, and you’ll be rewarded with an energized metabolism long after you’ve had your post-workout shower.

Add activity to December’s hustle. The increase in oxygen, blood flow, muscle and bone strength, and endorphins will rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit –  and help make it easier to reach for nutrient-dense foods over those loaded with sugar and refined flours.

Make that choice even easier, once activity’s done, by having something tasty keeping warm in the slow cooker. This hearty veggie soup recipe is quick to prepare and a healthy alternative to nestle in among the season’s richer carbohydrate snacks and meals.

Day 4 Activity (1)

*Definition of Sometimes Foods: Foods that we know are not good for us but that we choose, occasionally, under certain circumstances, to eat anyway.

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