‘Tis the season… for leftover Halloween candy, pumpkin and pecan pie, sugar cookies, holiday cocktails, and not enough hours in the day. Scheduling time for a workout is not always possible. Sometimes every other day is good enough and that will still help you feel calmer and more focused. On the days when you can’t fit in an official workout, learned to get creative!

Track Yourself

Wearing an activity monitor, such as a Fitbit, is a great tool to keep you mindful of how active you are throughout the day. Noticing that you have not racked up many steps by lunchtime can help motivate you to walk more later on in the day. Activity monitors keep you accountable, and everyone can use some help with that. 

Start Your Day Off Right

You may not realize how many calories you can burn every day by consistently moving around. Try starting your day with a walk before breakfast. Walking before eating boosts your metabolism and starts to burn calories left over from the day before. Taking a mindful moment in the morning also gives you time to set goals and prioritize. Walking for 20 minutes at a moderate pace burns approximately 80 calories.

Weave it into the Festivities

Entering the busy holiday season, there are plenty of activities that burn hundreds of calories. 

  • Keep up a brisk pace while shopping. Walking at a moderate pace for an hour burns 250–300 calories. Add five minutes of stairs to torch an extra 50 calories. If you have young kids, pushing a stroller uses even more calories.
  • If you love to sip on coffee during holiday errands, consider swapping 2% milk with coconut milk. That can cut almost 100 calories per cup. Coconut milk contains a type of saturated fat that helps raise good cholesterol but not the bad. 
  • Calm your mind and refocus before a holiday party with 20 minutes of yoga to burn nearly 200 calories.      

Make it Family Friendly

  • Take your kids bowling or to play mini golf.
  • Challenge your kids to an old-school jump rope competition.
  • Encourage your family to join you on a post-Thanksgiving meal walk.
  • Take advantage of one of the many holiday themed charity walks and races. A 5K can burn between 500-700 calories and usually supports a worthy cause.

Time is a precious commodity during the holidays, so commit to making the most of your workouts this season. Whether on the treadmill, swimming laps, or just walking around the neighborhood, challenge yourself to go 10 more minutes when you are ready to quit. An extra 10 minutes here and there can go a long way to burning more calories. Staying active not only helps control your holiday weight, but you also reduce your stress and are better equipped—physically and mentally—to enjoy the magic of the season.

Mary-Marsha Riley is a certified personal trainer, attorney, and pageant coach. For more information visit Wellhousefitness.com