Prioritizing Your Health During the Holidays

Part 2: Movement

I know that it can be hard to fit in movement when it isn’t the holiday season, so asking you to prioritize movement now might seem insurmountable. Whether you are going into this holiday not as financially secure as you would like to be, stressed about having to be in the same room as a family member who you don’t get along with, or can’t say no to ALL of the drinks and food this holiday season…movement is one thing that you can do to boost your mood and decrease stress! In a recent study it was found that after a single bout of exercise there were positive changes that occurred at the cognitive/behavioral, neurophysiological, and neurochemical levels. In fact, a single bout of exercise improved executive functions, enhanced mood states, and decreased stress levels. Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your mind and body is to move your body intentionally everyday this holiday season because movement truly is one of the best forms of medicine.

Here are 4 reasons why you should incorporate movement into your daily routine during the holidays.

Stress Reducer

As referenced in the study above, just one workout can reduce your stress levels. Oftentimes, we have a massive to-do list during the holidays, and a simple 30-minute walk can help you to press the pause button. This way you can come back to the list refreshed and recharged.

Creates a Routine

The holidays can definitely be a bit chaotic which means our normal routines get thrown off. I recommend making an appointment with yourself as to when you are going to exercise each week. I like to map out my week on Sundays, but you do you! You are less likely to skip working out if it is on your calendar. Movement is one thing you can count on each day as a constant which is good for your body and gives you a peace of mind. Ideally, I recommend aiming for 20-30 minutes every day.

Combats Holiday Weight Gain

Yes, it is possible to maintain your weight during the holidays! Simply move your body in ways that feel good most days of the week. Movement revs up your metabolism, increases blood flow, and moves your lymphatic system. All of these help to maintain your weight and get rid of unwanted toxins which can contribute to weight gain.

Mood Booster

What is the saying? “Wow, I really regretted that workout,” said no one ever! It is true! Movement is a natural mood and energy booster! Use movement as a tool this holiday season. Don’t forget that you can move anywhere at any time, and it is free! When I am most stressed, going for a walk or doing 20 minutes of yoga ALWAYS makes me feel better.

What are the best forms of exercise?

Truly, the best form of exercise is exercise that you enjoy because then you will do it! I think most people should incorporate some strength training, cardio (not too much), and yoga/stretching. Having said that, if you had a strength training session on your calendar but a walk sounds better, then absolutely go for a walk. Also, breaking a sweat daily is an added bonus! Sweating is one of the best and easiest ways to detox and destress.

How do I start working out if it isn’t already part of my routine?

If daily movement isn’t already part of your routine, I recommend starting out with 10 minutes a day. 10 minutes is better than no minutes. Also, doing laundry, vacuuming, getting the mail, etc. all count! You can even try movement snacks throughout the day like walking up and down your stairs 5 times or doing jumping jacks at 10am and 3pm. Do what works for you!

Should I prioritize exercise the day of Thanksgiving?

In short YES! A fun way to get the whole family involved is to do a Turkey Trot! A love doing a 5K on Thanksgiving because it is just enough to get the endorphins going but not enough to make me feel depleted the rest of the day. The best part is you can walk or run, and you can get it done even before it is time to put the turkey in the oven. Check out this list for a Thanksgiving 5K near you!

I highly recommend prioritizing movement this holiday season and not waiting until the first of the year. If you would like help figuring out how to incorporate movement into your day this holiday season, I would love to help you! You can schedule an appointment with me here.

Be well,

Stephanie Watson