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Effective Strategies for Staying Active during the Holidays

December 14, 2012 by NCSF 0 comments

It is common for health-conscious individuals to maintain their exercise regimen throughout the majority of the year only to find themselves struggling to stay on schedule during the holiday season. Numerous articles have identified this annual behavioral shift where many in America will gain ‘holiday weight’. For most this will be a 1-2 kg increase from pre-November weight, for others the ranges will double. The unfortunate outcome is the well-documented annual accumulation average of approximately 0.5-1 kg each year. Over the span of ten years, even minimal weight gain during the holidays can make for a considerable difference in one’s body composition. This ends up being starkly noticeable when observing Holidays past captured in pictures of one’s yesteryears. For example, if one gained a pound and a half during each holiday season, and we account for metabolic shifts with age, over a single decade the individual will potentially gain up to18 lbs of fat. Certainly, defense mechanisms kick in and metabolic energy-wasting helps limit the gains but scientists believe this annual increase in caloric intake with a subsequent reduction in activity has long-term effects. This well-known phenomenon is referred to as “creeping obesity”, but this common progression of weight gain over the lifespan can be limited in part by employing a few practical strategies to prevent the holiday weight gain. It is easy to say that staying active during the holidays is unreasonable based on the additional responsibilities and activities surrounding family, the need to travel and the frigid weather common in most states. On top of this, with so much going on, it can be challenging to find the energy to fit in exercise when one’s schedule has been disrupted. However, a little bit of planning and preparation, as well as making sure to capitalize on every opportunity for activity can go a long way in minimizing sedentarism and consequent weight gain. Furthermore, it is important to realize the benefits of maintaining a normal activity regimen helps reduce stress and anxiety, and mitigates some of the caloric excess associated with gluttonous consumption.

Consider these useful strategies for maximizing physical activity during the time of year when many people find themselves eating too much and exercising too little:

These are feasible solutions for many, but depending on your holiday schedule it’s important to remember to create a schedule that is attainable. Setting up a schedule that is too rigorous to stay on track often ends in complete failure. When you cannot absolutely control the daily schedule, manage what you can control. Increasing intensity when you do work out and engaging in as much activity as possible will make it easier to get back on track after the season.

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