The busy holiday season can make it tough to fit in your regular exercise routine, especially if you’re traveling or have a mile-long to-do list. Jennifer Hopper, M.S., manager of the Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center, shares her favorite strategies for sneaking in fitness no matter what scenario you find yourself in.
#1: Standing in line
Chances are you’ll end up standing in line quite a bit this season as you shop for presents, pick up groceries and mail packages. Hopper has several go-to moves she squeezes in while she’s standing in line and promises they are pretty inconspicuous so you won’t get any stares from other shoppers.
“We want to make sure that we decrease our stress and increase our exercise,” says Hopper.
First, fortify your body with much-needed oxygen by taking three deep breaths, inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth.
Second, try some neck and shoulder rolls. Gently tilt your head side to side to get a stretch in your neck and reduce tension. Slowly roll your shoulders back a few times, then repeat in the opposite direction and roll the shoulders forward.
Finally, try calf raises. Gently lift up onto your tip-toes then slowly lower back down to your heels.
“If you do this a couple of times, you are really going to feel a lot better,” says Hopper.
#2: Hosting guests in your home
If you are hosting friends or family during the holidays, find ways to incorporate exercise into everyone’s day. “Organize some healthy activities that you can do together,” Hopper recommends.
Some easy activities that can include the whole family:
Going on a walk or a hike
Playing outdoor games, like tag or wiffleball
Talking a stroll around the mall if the weather isn’t cooperating
“Always remember this: it’s better to get a little bit of physical activity in than none at all,” she says.
#3: Staying as a guest in someone’s house
“As a guest, you can bank on having possibly 10 minutes alone each day,” Hopper says. “But even if you’re staying in your aunt’s basement and have zero fitness equipment, don’t let that stop you from getting physical activity.”
She suggests squeezing in quick circuit moves to get your heart rate up in minimal time, such as:
Neck and shoulder rolls
“Another thing you can do if you want to be a really great guest and get a lot of physical activity is offer to rake leaves, shovel snow or even unload the dishwasher,” she says.
“Remember, small bouts of activity really do add up to help you de-stress and maintain a healthier immune system,” says Hopper. “The holidays are about having fun. We want to keep ourselves as healthy and de-stressed as possible.”
See more healthy ways to get moving.