Exercising and the Holidays

29 November 2023

It is hard to deny that from the end of November through the end of December is one of the busiest times of the year.  In addition to a number of holidays, businesses are making a final push for year end, wrapping up the books, and planning for the next year.  Volunteer organizations often have election of officers and are asking for help.  There are parties all over the place.  It seems impossible to carve out any time to go to the gym or that special room in your home where you have a stationary bike, treadmill, or other devices.  Many people prefer to avoid outdoor running in the cold, dark, and on potentially slick streets or paths.

Here are some ideas about how you can fit in at least some activities to keep your sanity and work off a couple of those extra pounds that seem to appear around our middles at this time each year.


Right now sit down and prepare a 10-minute routine that you can do in your bedroom.  Keep resistance bands at the foot of your bed or in your suitcase if you are traveling.  Wear your running or walking shoes as much as possible and squeeze in a short jaunt while others are resting or during halftime of the big game.

If there are kids around, see if you can convince them to join in a game of tag or building a snow fort, or hide and seek.

Offer to help with the housework.  Running a vacuum or just taking time to pick up odds and ends will get you some movement.  Walk the dog.

Sign up for a race.  Many organizations sponsor fun runs and walks.  If you sign up in advance, you are more likely to follow through.  Really get in the spirit with silly hats, sweaters, or other paraphernalia.


Opt for a parking space farther from the entrance.  This may actually be easier than you think considering the overcrowded lots.  It also lessens the frustration of circling to find that prime spot.

Take an extra lap.  Big box stores are perfect for this.  When you enter the store and grab your shopping cart, take a loop around the perimeter and if you are feeling particularly spry and have a few extra minutes, go up and down the various aisles.  Don’t wait until you have done all your shopping first, or you will probably just want to get out of the store and onto the next task.

Winter Sports

Create a family activity or plan a party with friends around an ice rink.

The Finger Lakes area is packed with areas to hike or walk.  Remember to look at  your surroundings and note the difference in the trees, birds, and plants from your last summer or even autumn journey.

If you are going to an area filled with holiday lighting and decorations, park the car and walk through the neighborhood.  Okay, it won’t be one of your aerobic walks, but you are still burning more calories than you would riding in a vehicle.


If you are going out of town during this six to eight week period, either for work or for family, check to see if your gym membership will work at other facilities in the city you will be in.  Many hotels have fitness rooms available to their guests.  If all else fails, do walking squats down the hallway, just remember to put your room key in your pocket.


Be sure to wear your fitness monitor or a pedometer.  Resist the temptation to check your progress every hour.  Only check it a couple of times a day and rejoice in whatever you have accomplished.  After all it is the holiday season and you deserve a break or two yourself.  Don’t be afraid to take a rest if you are fatigued.  Working out if you are tired is a sure way to pull a muscle or damage cartilage.

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