treasure hunting on a family hike

As the holiday season seems to creep earlier and earlier each year, the roadblocks to sticking to your exercise routine seem to become more plentiful.  The holiday madness seems to start with Halloween and many reports suggest the average American will gain 7-10 pounds between trick-or-treating and Super Bowl Sunday.

So what’s a waistline to do?

Here are a few tips that I am going to be trying to get me through the next 26 days to 2012:

Something is Better Than Nothing

The biggest mistake that people make around the holidays is putting off their own heath and fitness until “after the New Year”.  If you truly take the whole Holiday season off, you are missing out on 1/6th of the year of fitness (or more!).  And who wants to fight that return rush of other New Years Resolution-ers  anyways.

The effects of exercise are cumulative.  So even if you can’t get to that 9am kickboxing class at your gym 3 times a week like you used to, 15 minutes of exercises at home each morning and a 10 minute walk in your neighborhood after dinner each night adds up to the same total weekly minutes. (try the 15 minute home workout coming tomorrow!)

Create New Healthy Traditions

One of the best parts of the Holidays is celebrating with Family and Friends, but your celebrations don’t have to focus around the TV and finger foods.  Why not plan a family-friendly hike instead of your neighborhood potluck.

Where I am in Marin County, we are luckily enough to have decent weather in December, even if it means wearing an extra layer or bringing an umbrella.  Why not meet at a hiking trail or fire road that starts from a parking lot.   Walk out as far as the little legs in your group want to go, then turn and head back.  Or pick a paved trail where kids can ride bikes and scooters while the adults walk and chat.

Regroup in the parking lot for hot chocolate, coffee and fruit.  Even if you bring out small breads or pastries, it won’t be the same as standing at a buffet table for 3 hours.  Everyone gets out, gets some fresh air and time to chat.  If you go in the morning, you’re done earlier enough to hit up the mall to finish your shopping!

Keep Your Guests Busy

If you are hosting the party, give guest an activity to do besides nibble.  People can string popcorn and cranberry garlands while chatting with their friends instead of popping hors d’oeuvres.

Or asks guests to bring their stash of hotel soaps and shampoos.  Set up a table and guests can put together gift bags for local shelters while they socialize. People will eat (and drink) less during the party and you’ll be helping out local causes at the same time.

Home (workouts) for the Holidays

Need to make the most of your fitness time?  Working out at home it the answer.  Need ideas on how to do that effectively?  Tomorrow I’ll be posting Home (workouts) for the Holidays.  Complete with DVD and website recommendations and a complete home workout you can do in 15 minutes!  See you tomorrow!