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Moving through the holidays

How to stay in shape

Oct. 30, 2012
 
You don't have to give up exercise just because holiday festivities change your regular routine. Try a shorter workout, or get out and play with loved ones.
You don't have to give up exercise just because holiday festivities change your regular routine. Try a shorter workout, or get out and play with loved ones.
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Nicole Nichols, fitness trainer at SparkPeople.com and recently named “America’s Top Personal Trainer to Watch” by workout equipment company Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise, offers these suggestions for keeping fit through the holidays.

1. “Move your feet before you eat” is Nichols’ mantra. That’s especially true on holidays, when food is often central to the day and the celebration, she said. The reason she recommends exercising in the morning: “If you do it first, nothing else is going to get in your way the rest of the day,” she said. “If you wait to exercise later, you’ll feel too sick or too full or too tired or you’ll have 1,000 other excuses as to why you’re not able to do it. Or the day will just get away from you.”

2. Treat a holiday like any other day. That means try to eat and exercise just as you normally do. If you wouldn’t normally eat to the point of feeling ill, why do it today? Fill your plate just once, she said. And stick to your normal exercise routine as much as possible.

3. Always have a Plan B when it comes to exercise. Gym closed for the holiday? Go for a run around your neighborhood, pop in an exercise DVD or get workout ideas from a fitness magazine or online.

4. Forget the all or nothing mentality when it comes to exercise. “People often think, if I can’t do the full 30- or 60-minute workout, I’ll do nothing,” Nichols said. “What I always tell people is, a little is always better than nothing. You could burn 100 calories or none. Which would you choose?” Don’t have much time to work out? Aim for high-intensity, short workouts that exercise multiple muscle groups at once, such as spinning, a strength-training circuit, push-ups or squats with hand weights.

5. Make active pursuits part of your holiday celebrations. These aren’t full-blown workouts, but rather activities that just get you and your loved ones moving: Toss a football around the backyard or even play some games on the Wii. “Try to make some of those fun pursuits a new holiday tradition instead of sitting around and eating all day,” Nichols said.

To watch Nicole Nichols’ fitness videos, visit www.sparkpeople.com and click “videos.”

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