Challenge to Change: Party hearty, plan ahead

By Bobby DeMuro

Even though we covered holiday parties and proper nutrition planning during the holidays last week, that's not the only important part of staying healthy and fit this month.

Exercise is, of course, a big component of fitness in general, and while it's tough enough to find time for it during the rest of the year, when you add holidays to the mix, if often becomes the lowest priority.

Not only will finding the time to exercise during the holiday season keep you a little more fit and trim, it will also give you some energy, help decrease holiday stress and, of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories of the season.

As you're planning to stay active and healthy this holiday season, there are a few things you can do to ensure you prioritize fitness, while still getting everything else done.

Plan ahead

Especially if you're traveling, planning ahead can make all the difference. Take some time to figure out where you will be, so you know what to expect. A few ideas:

•       Plan for walking, running or park trails nearby

•       Find out if your hotel has an exercise center

•       If you're staying with family, ask if they have any fitness equipment

•       If that's not an option, find a local gym that provides a week-long guest pass

•       Talk to your family in advance and suggest taking a walk or doing something active together

•       If they aren't into fitness, plan your workouts early in the morning, or other times that won't interfere with family time together

•       Try to plan your workout schedule before you leave. Even if you have to change it (which is likely when you're traveling), you've already made some commitment to exercise.


Use every opportunity

Planning and preparing are nice, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. If you find there's just no way to get in a workout like you are accustomed, there are still things you can do to stay active and fit while you're enjoying the holidays.

First, walk around as much as possible. Take extra laps at the mall, use the stairs instead of the elevator, volunteer to walk the family's dog - all those steps add up. If you're hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag or hide and seek; a surprisingly simple game can produce enough activity and keep you moving throughout the day.

Depending on where you live, it might be a white Christmas - and there are few activities that burn more calories than shoveling snow. Sure, it's not the most fun thing in the world to shovel the driveway - but you have to do it anyways, so take it as an opportunity to burn a ton of calories!

The bottom line is that there are plenty of small things you can do to stay active when you're enjoying the holidays. It takes a little bit of planning and a lot of commitment, but even small sets of activity can produce big results if you're consistent and committed. Get to work!

About the author:Bobby DeMuro is the Founder of No Fizz America, a non-profit dedicated to health and fitness. He is also the founder FusionSouth, a sports conditioning firm. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook .

You can listen to Bobby on his weekly radio show on Radio Exiles.

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