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Why It’s Important to Stay in Shape Over the Holidays
It’s nearly the thick of winter and Christmas is just around the corner. You may be tempted to drop your workout routine and continue through December without thinking of the gym once.
But there is great benefit to keeping fit throughout the holidays — for both mental and physical reasons. You’ll also be thanking yourself when January 1st rolls around and it’s time to “get back on track” — as so many people promise themselves throughout Christmas parties, happy hours and hours spent on the family couch.
Here are just a few reasons to consider keeping your workout routine in check even as you enjoy holiday goodies and a little time off work.
- Mood elevation. As you may know, exercise has an actual scientific effect on your brain chemistry. It’s been touted as a cure for many ailments, including depression and anxiety. In fact, if you view a photo of the brain before and after exercise, it looks vastly different. Stave off the winter blues by working up a sweat regularly.
- New Experiences. Working out in the winter can lead you to the stairmaster at the gym every day. Or, you can explore the outdoors and experience a new kind thrill by breathing in the cold air. There’s something exceptionally refreshing about layering up and running outdoors — or losing yourself in calorie burning by sledding, skiing or ice skating. Whether you know it or not, this contributes to keeping in shape and bringing fulfilling life experiences into play.
- Stave off Stress. The holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year — and the most effective way to battle that is to be active. Many people are staying with family for extended periods of time — or have family staying in their own homes. It’s priceless to have an escape route planned that few people can blame you for. Getting your heart rate up and clearing your mind — followed by a hot shower — will make you feel like a new person, ready to take on whatever holiday snafu pops up later.
- Body Confusion. When you go from lots of activity to none — your body may be confused by your actions. There’s a chemical conversation going on inside your body and abruptly changing the flow can be detrimental to how you react and respond to other situations. Even if you don’t keep your workouts intense, the routine is important to keeping your maintaining function at it’s best capacity.
- Keep Your Eating in Check. The other big temptation during the holiday is, of course, lots of high-calorie, rich, delicious food. There’s nothing wrong with indulging a little but it can easily get out of hand. One way to counteract the calories — and keep yourself from wanting to eat the whole pie — is to exercise. When you feel good, you don’t want to fill your body when less than wholesome goodies. Additionally, by exercising regularly, you can have your favorite holiday snacks without worrying about gaining a lot of weight.
Have I convinced you not to throw your exercise routine to the wolves this holiday season? If you want to get through the holidays feeling and looking great — and come out on the other end the same way — consider scheduling regular exercise no matter where you are. You’ll thank yourself later!
*This post originally published at APHE.
How do you stay in shape over the holiday season? Why do you think it’s important? Did I miss anything?
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