Get Fit: Burn the Holiday Calories During Holiday Activities

Riddle Memorial Wellness Manager Katy Coughlin offers up some great advice on incorporating exercise into your daily holiday activities and chores.

‘Tis the season for decorating, shopping, cleaning, parties, cooking and eating...lots of eating. From the juicy turkey and stuffing, to warm, gooey homemade chocolate chip cookies and eggnog, the goodies are all around us, and they’re surely hard to resist. It’s OK to indulge a bit, but it’s also important to keep moving, and incorporate exercise into the hectic holiday routine. With a to-do list a mile long, it’s difficult this time of year to stick to a strict workout regime, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up until January. There are some great ways to incorporate calorie-burning right into your holiday activities.

Katy Coughlin is the Wellness Manager at The Fitness Center at She suggests making a plan and committing to it during the holiday season.

"Remember, something is always better than nothing. Often our busy holiday schedules, or lack of structured schedules, take us off our exercise routines. Your exercise may be cumulative, for example 20 minutes in the morning, 20 minutes in the afternoon, and 20 minutes in the evening, which adds up to an hour workout," says Coughlin.

Coughlin’s come up with some tips how to work a workout into your schedule.

  • At-Home Exercise – "Put on some music and try a few at-home exercises. No equipment is necessary with a body weight squat, push up, lunge and jumping jacks. Try doing these exercises for at least 30 seconds each, and repeat three times," she says.
  • Cook & Curl – "When cooking, complete a few overhead presses, front raises, lateral raises or bicep curls before preparing the canned foods. Try some calf raises when doing the dishes by coming up on your toes," says Coughlin.
  • Step it Up – "Take advantage of any and all steps, in malls, at grocery stores. Avoid escalators and elevators," she says.
  • Park Far Away – "When shopping, park at a distance so you’re able to get a brisk walk in before bargain hunting. If feasible, carry your bags instead of pushing a cart," Coughlin recommends.
  • Have Family Fun – "After or before dinner, take the kids outside to play a game of tag or football and join them," she says. "Look for hills in the neighborhood to walk or jog, get some fresh air, and ask other family members to join."
  • Discover Something New – "If traveling for the holidays, search for parks, walking trails, high school tracks, or local cross country skiing trails," says Coughlin.

Coughlin says if you do skip a workout, to look at it as a challenge, and pick up where you left off the next day.

"Move on and stay positive. Relax, enjoy, and remember what the holidays are truly about. Physical activity can help relieve stress, regulate appetite, and burn excess calories. Whenever you can fit a workout in, is the best time to exercise," she says.


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