Hope the Holidays bring Exercise Cheer

( [email protected] ) Jan 09, 2006 10:20 PM EST

This article was brought to you by Truestar Health: The World's Most Comprehensive Nutrition, Fitness & Healthy Lifestyle Resource

The winter season is beyond a doubt my most favourite time of the year. The colours and the joy and peace of the season bring tranquility and a sense of stillness until you open your front door and the frenzy of parking and holiday madness sales begins.

The stress of getting around town coupled with yuletide drinks and cookies does not make the holiday season a good time to be missing your workouts. The average person gains approximately 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. Parties, cookies, chocolates and all other goodies are to blame along with a change in your exercise routine. Sticking to your exercise routine will help you enjoy the treats guilt-free and provide you with a sense of awareness and control over your body. Below are three strategies that can help you integrate some exercise cheer into the holiday season.

Exercise Cheer # 1: Try a quick 20-minute circuit

Maintaining your current exercise routine is the first strategy to fighting the holiday battle of the bulge. If you know of parties or events ahead of time, try to schedule your workouts around your holiday gatherings. You should also try adding an extra five to 10 minutes to your cardio workout during the exercise session. If you are looking for something quick, useful, fun and new to do at the gym, choose eight to 12 of your favourite exercises and move from one exercise to another with minimal rest. Most fitness centers have a circuit layout for their members that are very easy to follow. If you want a safe, quick and effective workout that you can perform at home, all you need is a few simple dumbbells and a rubber band. In your copy of Total Health & Weight Loss the Truestar Way, you¡¯ll find a free DVD workout. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions at each station and complete the circuit two or three times depending on your time. You will feel a great muscle pump and the exhilaration of performing exercise non-stop.

Exercise Cheer # 2: Cardio training can be your best friend during this season of temptation

Resistance training is a great way to increase your lean muscle mass and boost your metabolism. However, you should note that in the short term, resistance training does not burn as many calories as cardiovascular training. Two weeks prior to the holidays, treat yourself to some cardio workouts so that you can treat yourself to some tasty treats. Jump on a treadmill, cycle or elliptical machine and perform 15 to 30 minutes of moderate to intense cardiovascular conditioning. Try to keep your heart rate elevated within 70% to 85% of your maximum heart rate or, if you prefer, exercise at a level that allows you to carry on a conversation. However, every three to five minutes, raise the intensity or tension to a ¡°difficult¡± level for one to two minutes before returning to your regular intensity level. This helps burn more calories and also contributes to numerous health and fitness benefits.

Exercise Cheer # 3: Exercise first thing in the morning

One of the benefits of exercising first thing in the morning is that you don¡¯t have to do it the rest of the day. Once you leave your home in the morning to go to work or to run errands which do not involve going to the gym, you are in fact tremendously decreasing your chances of getting a workout in for the rest of the day. The odds of exercising later in the day during the holidays are against you. We¡¯ve all been there and we know the excuses. It goes something like this: you are just about to drive to the gym when a friend calls and invites you to a bar or restaurant to meet up with friends and enjoy a few holiday drinks. You quietly and quickly convince yourself you will exercise later on, knowing very well that the likelihood of this happening is slim. So, working out first thing in the morning in your home or at the gym will help boost your metabolism for the day and allow you to enjoy whatever invitation comes your way during the holidays.

Exercise Cheer # 4: Start and finish your day with exercise

Okay, so, you don¡¯t have any cardio equipment, it is too cold outside to go for a walk and you don't belong to a gym. How can you start and finish your day with exercise? Good question.

Remember exercise includes any kind of physical movement such as push-ups, abdominal crunches and squats or lunges. These basic exercises can be performed anywhere. If holiday parties are keeping you physically down, try to incorporate a few sets of push-ups, crunches and squats first thing in the morning and before going to bed (being too drunk is no excuse). Perform one to two sets of the maximum number of repetitions you can handle. If regular push-ups are too difficult, attempt modified push-ups or wall push-ups. Increase the intensity of a crunch by placing your hands behind your ears and change your foot position when performing squats (feet shoulder width to a wide grip). To warm up, walk up and down a few flights of stairs in your house for a few minutes or simply walk on the spot with high knees. At the end of the week, you will be amazed at how much exercise you actually accomplished.

The holidays are wonderful times for connecting with friends and families and for enjoying some treats. Don¡¯t let your holidays be tarnished by unexpected weight gain. Take action today and help your body burn more than it consumes and bring some exercise cheer into your holidays. Happy holidays!

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