One way to prioritize exercise during the busy holidays

One way to prioritize exercise during the busy holidays

Workouts are often the first thing to go when the holiday to-do list gets too long.

But the hustle and bustle of this time of year doesn’t necessarily mean you need to abandon workouts completely. In fact, with a little multi-tasking, you could work in being active while spending time with your family.

“Too often, we get into the mindset that if we can’t walk on the treadmill for an hour, we won’t receive any physical benefits. The truth is you can stay fit even if you break up that hour into 15- or 30-minute segments throughout the day,” says Dr. Jennette Berry, a family medicine physician at Advocate South Suburban Hospital in Hazel Crest, Ill.

You also don’t need to sacrifice time with your family to stay in shape. Instead, Dr. Berry suggests inviting them to get moving with you. Here are some fun family fitness ideas to help you and your loved ones stay active throughout the holiday season.

  • Turn active time into a friendly competition. For those with fitness trackers, challenge each other to see who can get in the most steps during the week leading up to your family gathering. The person with the least number of steps has to help the host clean up after dinner.
  • Sign up the family for a 5K or other holiday races. Even better, if everyone lives nearby, you can train together in the weeks leading up to the race.
  • Need a job for family members who offer to help while you’re making dinner? Have them lead the kids in jumping rope. Not only will the family get a workout, but it will keep your littlest “helpers” occupied and away from a hot stove in the kitchen.
  • After dinner, take a walk around the neighborhood or play outside in the snow before coming back in for dessert.
  • Hit the mall for some post-holiday retail therapy. It’s warm place for getting in some exercise if you live in a colder climate.

“Whether you park further away from the stores or host an impromptu dance party after your holiday feast, any physical activity you and your family do together all adds up to helping keep everyone healthy,” Dr. Berry says.

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Vicki Martinka Petersen

Vicki Martinka Petersen, health enews contributor, is a digital copywriter on the content team at Advocate Aurora Health. A former newspaper reporter, she’s worked in health care communications for the last decade. In her spare time, Vicki enjoys tackling her to be read pile, trying new recipes, meditating, and planning fun activities to do in the Chicago area with her husband and son.