By planning exercise time around busy schedules and being mindful of healthy eating, weight gain can be avoided.
Portland, OR (PRWEB) December 20, 2012
As Americans head into the home stretch of the holiday season, many will find themselves challenged to maintain healthy eating and exercise habits established earlier in the year. December can be a difficult time to focus on health for many reasons. Holiday preparations and family events can increase stress, celebrations are often centered around food, and cold weather and shorter days result in more sedentary behaviors. To help manage the challenges of the season, American Fitness has identified 5 best practices for maintaining health and fitness during the holidays.
1. Be Realistic
Set a goal of maintaining, not losing, weight. It can be incredibly difficult to lose weight with all of the food temptations during the holidays, so consider maintaining weight a success. Put together an eating and exercise plan for navigating pitfalls of the season without regret. If weight loss is an ultimate goal, make a commitment to get back on track with a focused program once the new year rolls around.
2. Schedule Workouts
Pick a time to exercise and schedule it daily. It is much easier to stick to an exercise plan if it has been prioritized and scheduled up front. Moderate exercise 20-30 minutes a day is ideal. Take a brisk walk outside or schedule a workout at a local gym. If bad weather or travel time is a concern, consider purchasing home fitness equipment. An exercise bike or treadmill provides a good cardiovascular workout that burns calories. Many models are compact and can be folded for easy storage. Strength training with dumbbells or exercise bands can be helpful in boosting self-confidence and reducing feelings of depression that accompany the holidays for some people.
3. Make an Eating Plan
With holiday parties, family get togethers, and other social activities, it can be impossible to avoid holiday foods altogether. The best way to manage this is to make an eating plan. Start meals with a large glass of water to help fill the stomach and jump start the metabolism. To avoid mindless snacking at social events, put together a plate of food focusing on healthy fruits and vegetables, as well as samples of favorite goodies. Be aware of reasonable portion sizes and do not go back for seconds! When dining out at restaurants, decide what to order in advance. Many restaurant menus can be found on the internet with key nutrition information. Also, remember that drinks have calories that must be considered as part of an eating plan.
4. Don’t Expect Perfection
The holidays are a busy time. There is extra shopping, cooking, and entertaining that take place on top of everyday activities. If an occasional treadmill session is missed or an extra cookie is eaten, don’t sweat it! The goal is to enjoy the holidays without sabotaging health and fitness. Accept the occasional slip up and then get back on track quickly.
5. Motivate with Rewards
One of the best ways to stay focused is to reward successes along the way. For example, a reward for walking on the treadmill every day for a week might be taking time out for a hot bath or going to see a funny movie – as a bonus, laughing at the movie will not only reduce stress, but also burn calories. A longer-term reward can also be motivating, such as a spring trip to a sunny location where all of the exercise and healthy eating will pay off by looking and feeling good in warm weather clothes.
“It is possible to have a happy holiday and also maintain health and fitness,” said Ron Thompson, President of American Fitness. “By planning exercise time around busy schedules and being mindful of healthy eating, weight gain can be avoided. Putting a few strategies in place now will make New Year’s resolutions that much more attainable.”
About American Fitness
American Fitness is a leading retailer of home and commercial fitness equipment. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, AmericanFitness.net is the chosen provider of exercise equipment for schools, hotels, public service agencies, and US military organizations across the United States and abroad. American Fitness specializes in custom gym and fitness center design using top brand cardio and weight training equipment. With a focus on service and customer satisfaction, American Fitness seeks to support individuals and organizations in achieving fit and healthy lifestyles. For more information, visit http://www.americanfitness.net.