Finding time to exercise

With all of the goodies and heightened emotions you may be experiencing during the holidays, exercise is one of the best ways to find the inner peace you need. Physical activity is a great stress and anxiety reducer. You can make a difference to your health by adding just ten minutes of exercise to your daily routine. Start with a positive attitude. If you’re grumpy or sad, you’re not going to want to exercise. Even if you have a mildly positive attitude, that’s enough to get you started. Let your physical activity do the rest. One of the best ways to exercise is to walk. According to Jane Clark, Fitness Director at Millberry Recreation & Fitness Center at the Medical School at the University of California at San Francisco, walking is one of the healthiest ways to reduce stress. "Organize your activities so they include walking. Walk before the holiday dinner, walk after the dinner," said Jane. Getting extra steps in your day is easy. Run errands for your loved ones. You can be generous and get some activity in. Just remember to allow plenty of time to accomplish your tasks. When was the last time you went caroling or viewed your neighborhood’s holiday lights? Spread your holiday cheer as you walk off calories. Powerwalk or stroll around the mall – before it gets too crowded. Park your car away from the crowds. Those extra steps add up. Take the stairs at home, the office, the airport or the mall. Ask for help. If you are the caregiver for someone, you need to stay healthy and invigorated, too. Ask family and friends to stay with your loved one or hire a home health agency [LINK]. Use this time to try something new. Partner with a friend or relative. It’s easier to stick with an exercise routine if you have a partner to help keep you motivated. Do a few bicep curls with that gallon of milk or full shopping bag before you put your groceries away. Instead of watching TV after your meal, get your family up and dance. Even if you laugh yourselves silly, you’re still giving your abs a workout and your family a great memory. Roll out your mat. Eastern exercises like yoga, tai chi and Chi-gong (Qigong) continually show health benefits in study after study. These exercises help increase strength and flexibility, reduce stress, prevent disease and manage weight. There are many other traditional ways of exercising such as swimming, kayaking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, backpacking, Pilates, Zumba, weightlifting, hiking, jogging and bicycling. Plan a vacation to a warm destination for January and February. We tend to stick with an exercise routine if we plan to be on a beach. And last but not least, get six to eight hours of sleep every night. Your metabolism is higher when you get plenty of sleep, so you burn more calories. If you consistently get too little sleep, your metabolism lowers and you can actually gain weight. Do you have ideas on how to exercise during the holidays? Share your ideas with us in the Comments section.

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