Between pies and cross-country travel, it can be pretty tough to stay active during the holiday season. A cornucopia of family obligations, work parties, and last-minute shopping means that hitting the gym often gets delayed or crossed off the schedule altogether. Not this year! There are 35 days between Thanksgiving and New Years Day, and we’re determined to make the most of them. We’ve come up with 15 smart strategies, tips, tricks, and motivational techniques to make fitness part of the celebration all holiday season long. Read on to learn how to keep up your exercise routine this winter, Christmas cookies be darned.
1. Get out there
Snuggling under the blankets with a mug of hot chocolate is fine and dandy, but it probably won’t help you out in the fitness department. Instead of baking cookies or playing board games, pass the time with an active pursuit like snowshoeing, hiking, or even building snowmen or igloos.
2. Set a challenge
Each year, Runner’s World magazine challenges readers to run every single day (logging at least one mile per day) between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. Pounding the pavement not your style? Create your own challenge, whether it involves trying a new bodyweight exercise every day, testing different yoga poses, or experimenting with an unfamiliar running workout.
3. Make it official
Sign up for a race, competition, or fitness-y vacation like a hiking or bike trip in January or February so you have a good reason (and plenty of motivation) to stay in shape over the holidays.
4. Try feet-first sightseeing
If you’re traveling or going on vacation, explore a new city on foot or bike instead of in a car or by public transportation (weather permitting).
5. Find a workout buddy
Rolling out of bed for a 6 a.m. gym sesh is much harder to skip when you’re one half of a dynamic workout duo. Enlist a fitness-minded friend or family member (especially if you’re traveling) to be your holiday exercise buddy. Encourage each other to lace up the sneakers for pre-dinner workouts and post-shopping trip runs.