During the holidays, it’s tempting to throw your workouts by the wayside with the promise to start again after the New Year. The hustle of shopping, travel and entertaining can easily derail your fitness regimen. Research shows that when regular exercise stops, de-training occurs within a few weeks. It’s better to shift to maintenance workouts than to stop altogether and lose what you’ve built. Even if you need to reduce the time of each session, or cut back one workout a week, maintaining the momentum of your regular exercise routine is much easier than stopping and restarting, later.
Exercise can also be a valuable tool to get you through the challenges of the holiday season. Here are some common holiday slip-ups of which to beware.
Packing on the Holiday Pounds
The holidays are a high-risk time for gaining weight – so much good food and sweets to boot. Exercise can combat this risk by burning calories, and by maintaining muscle mass which sustains metabolic rate.
Stress from the Holiday Hustle
Shopping, increased food preparation, frequent visitors, family drama, and managing finances all lead to increased stress. Exercise promotes the release of hormones that improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety.
Holiday Blues Have You Seeing Red
As we approach the holidays, the limited daylight hours can lead to varying degrees of seasonal depression. Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and elevate mood. Performing an outdoor workout during the daylight hours provides additional benefits by increasing sunlight exposure and increases your endorphins which trigger a positive feeling in your body – an easy and great mood lift!
Lack of Structure Leads To A Chaotic Month
One of the main culprits associated with stress, depression, and weight gain is abandoning your weekly exercise regimen. Maintaining your exercise routine will help you stay on track with food intake, aid in maintenance of sleep schedules, and provide a framework so you can prioritize the demands of the holiday season and get through them in peace.