The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family to celebrate good food and good times. It comes as no surprise that people tend to neglect their fitness routine when the holidays come around. Because of all the schedule changes, such as for traveling and attending special events, it is hard to stick to a fitness routine. However, it is possible to stay fit if you make it your goal.
Nevelle Howard, physical fitness specialist at the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Diabetes Prevention Services, provided some advice on how to stay fit during the holidays.
“Almost any activity that requires you to move and get your heart rate up is good for you,” Howard said. “But the easiest one to do is just to walk for 10 to 20 minutes a day. When you are ready, you can just put it in your daily schedule to do it twice or three times per day …. Daily exercise helps to prevent or reduce high blood pressure and reduce your blood sugar. So, most definitely schedule time for yourself or with your family and fit your daily [walking] session in once or multiple times per day.”
Howard explained why our exercise routines tend to break during the holidays.
“There are many reasons [why you might] slow activity during the holidays, even if you have made physical activity a priority or a daily habit,” Howard said. “[When] family and friends coming into town, [we’re more likely to participate] in a fun activity with them rather than accomplishing that morning workout.” People also have been used to office parties in the workplace, and between work, relatives and friends, it’s not unusual to attend several parties and dinners throughout the holiday season.
But this year, during the COVID-19 pandemic, large group celebrations aren’t going to happen. You may have new reasons to skip your fitness routine, such as working from home and spending time helping the kids with their homework. In addition to being your kids’ teacher, new roles include being your own IT person, auto mechanic, barber, dog groomer, entertainment director, etc.
“But that’s all the more reason to force yourself to remain active,” Howard said. “Physical activity not only improves your blood pressure and blood sugar, but it also helps alleviate depression. Physical activity gives you that mental and physical boost and improves your sleep.”
Keeping healthy during the holidays is a major challenge every year, but it is even tougher now, considering that COVID-19 is a real threat to public health. It is important now more than ever to maintain our exercise routines and continue to take safety precautions to protect our own health and everyone else’s. So, when finding new fitness routines, wear a mask and practice social distancing. And don’t forget to wash your hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Wash hands every time you come back home from errands or being outside.