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Published on December 04, 2015

family ice skating

Staying Fit at Holiday Time

Fitness doesn’t have to be at the bottom of your holiday to-do list. You can still get in some exercise while staying in the holiday spirit.

Around the holidays, that might look like running a Jingle Bell 5K with your whole family or finding the biggest hill nearby for sledding.

Maybe you won’t have time go to the gym every day, but think creatively and plan ahead to incorporate fitness into your other holiday activities.

It simply takes more planning, said Tami Wattnem, Avera Personal Trainer. “Keep exercise in the front of your mind,” Wattnem said. “The day before, think, how can I fit in fitness for me, and how can I incorporate my family and friends? Have that plan. Take a deep breath and say, how can I keep everyone healthy and feeling better?”

Here are six strategies to fit fitness into your holiday routine.

  1. Start a fitness tradition. Look for a holiday 5K run or other fitness event in your town or your destination for the holidays. Gather a group of your friends, neighbors or family members to participate.
  2. Look at holiday lights — on foot. Pick a neighborhood that’s known for its holiday light display. Then wander through the neighborhood on foot instead of in a car. (Go in the early evening or late afternoon to avoid the cold weather.)
  3. Plan 30 minutes of family fun time. Before you start the next holiday movie, plan a short indoor activity. Think outside the box: Create an obstacle course or relay races in your house (plan and play with caution). Even 30 minutes of activity can be effective. “Exercise can be short bursts several times throughout the day,” Wattnem said.
  4. Take the long way. When shopping for gifts at the mall or a major shopping center, plan your walking route differently. Instead of opting for the shortest route, plan the longest distance between each store, and park on the far side of the lot.
  5. Act like a kid. Outdoor winter activities like sledding, snowball fights and ice skating are calorie-burners that don’t feel like exercise. Bundle up and head outdoors.
  6. Walk around the airport terminal. If you’re flying for the holidays, make a note to pack your tennis shoes in an easy-to-reach spot in your carry-on luggage. Store your luggage in an airport locker and get in some steps before your next flight.

Live Better. Live Balanced. Avera.

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