The holiday season brings a welcome diversion from our usual routines with the many preparations, errands, socializing, and festivities related to this busy and fun-filled season.
So how do we fit in fitness with all our obligations and extra activities this time of year? Whether it's the holiday season or our usual schedule of commitments, keeping physically active is critical to our health and wellbeing. Research shows that physical movement of all kinds contributes to our overall fitness level, so every bit counts.
Here are some easy ways to increase your physical activity throughout the day that don't take a lot of time.
When running errands, select a parking space further away from the entrance of the store and walk the distance. Increasing the duration and distance that you walk each day is one of the very best ways to increase your overall physical activity. It's also a great way to take notice of and enjoy your surroundings.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Good old-fashioned stairs are an excellent way to boost your heart rate and work your leg muscles without undue strain. Movement of the large muscle groups, such as the legs, burns the most calories "“ an added benefit anytime and especially around the holidays, when high calorie treats often abound.
When at the office, rather than sending an email, instant message, or text to your coworker, get up from your desk and have the conversation in person. Go visit your colleague downstairs or across the hall and connect face-to-face. In addition to the physical movement, the social interaction is good for your mental and emotional health as well.
Add vigor to your household tasks such as sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, and dusting. Same goes for yard work. Raking, mowing, and bagging leaves are great ways to get your body moving while enjoying the sights, sounds, and scents of the season. Think of the cleaning tasks and preparations for guests and entertaining as opportunities to get physical. Step up the pace to make the most of the movement. You'll enjoy the benefits of exercise, as well as the satisfaction of having a clean home.
Keep your usual workout schedule as much as possible. If you have a regular practice or discipline of sports, fitness classes, yoga, etc., honor those commitments as you would any other appointment on your calendar. Don't fret if you miss a session; just use these tips to keep moving to infuse fitness into your daily activities.
Lisa G. Jing is Founder/CEO of Synergy at Work, Inc., a consulting/training firm dedicated to transforming the workplace into an environment where people are their whole and best selves. She is a corporate health and wellness consultant with an M.A. in counseling psychology from Loyola Marymount University.