Move your body when you can this holiday season

Time is tight during the holidays, and that may mean that you really do not have time to do your regular exercise minute routine.

Usually, I walk 15 minutes to the gym, do 40 minutes of throwing around something fun and heavy, and then walk 15 minutes home again. That is 70 minutes that I definitely will not have while I am prepping for holiday festivities and trying to maintain my status of “super cool uncle.”

But that does not mean I will throw in the towel and skip my movement practice altogether. I will simply do what I can with the time I have.

Here are a few things I plan to do and that you can also try.

  1. Turn errands and chores into exercise. This can be as easy to do as walking to the store with a couple of bags and a backpack to pick up the holiday meal ingredients or last-minute presents. Or it can be more involved, like adding some extra challenges to shovelling the walk. Personally, I like to alternate which hand I use on the shovel and also challenge myself to see how far I can throw the snow.
  2. Do some short movement breaks throughout the day when you have a few minutes. Burpees, jumping jacks, squat jumps and other full-body movements are great activities to pepper in when you don’t have much time but want to get your heart rate up. The key is to choose multi-joint and full-body movements to maximize the impact these short bursts of movement will have. If nothing else, get up 7 minutes early and do the Scientific 7-Minute Workout before you even say good morning to anyone.
  3. Turn outdoor fun into fitness. There are many great outdoor activities available to us at this time of year—and many of them can be turned into a real workout with a slight variation. For example: sledding. Sure you could watch the young ones go up and down the hill while you take pictures on your phone, but how about taking it to the next level by joining in and running up the hill each time instead of doing the traditional trudge. For bonus points, invite some kids to add some weight to your toboggan by giving them a ride up the hill. Use your imagination and make it fun!

When time is tight, focus on doing what you can, when you can, with as much of your body as you can. That is much MUCH better than doing nothing and crossing your fingers while waiting for Jan 1 to roll around.