The average person gains five pounds or more over the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day… Sayyyy what???!
It is tempting to throw exercise to the side, especially when the holidays place even more demands on already hectic schedules BUT it doesn’t have to be a time to lose your health. Don’t wait until New Years to “start” being healthy all over again– it is possible to simply stay healthy during the holiday season!
Here are some important benefits:
Holiday Weight Gain
Research has shown that the holidays are a high risk time period for gaining weight. Two primary ways in which exercise can combat this risk is by 1) burning more calories to avoid an overload of your caloric intake, and 2) maintaining muscle mass and thereby sustaining metabolic rate (the more muscle you have, the more calories your burn).
We all know it means: added shopping, increased food preparation, house guests and frequent visitors, financial stress, more demands on our schedule all amount to increased stress. Change, whether it is good or bad, equates to stress. Exercise reduces stress by releasing “feel good” hormones called endorphins. In addition, it provides an outlet to release built-up stress that, if left alone, can often lead to overeating.
Holiday Season Blues
Aka we are losing daylight! Although exercise can’t make the days longer, it can reduce depressive symptoms and elevate mood. Performing an outdoor workout while it’s still light outside provides additional benefits by increasing sunlight exposure.
Physical Activity Offers Structure
By maintaining your regular exercise routine in the face of the upcoming demands, you are providing stability and comfort to yourself. Daily routines help us stay on track with our food intake, stabilize our circadian rhythms and help maintain our sleep patterns to ensure great days ahead!
So enjoy your pumpkin pie, egg nog and Christmas cookies – all in moderation while keeping up with your exercise routine and encouraging your friends and family to also stay active!
Love, ChicaBoom Team