Holiday season comes with great cheer, but it also comes with alcohol- and calorie-laden parties, sweet treats and busy travel schedules — all of which can make good excuses for why you can't keep exercising.
If you're already convincing yourself that you can't possibly fit in exercise this wintry season — because it's too cold, you're too busy meeting family obligations, or traveling between family and friends — you need ACE's tips on how to bust the 6 most common excuses.
Won't it be nice to enter the new year without having to start your exercise program from scratch and without extra holiday weight gain? Exercise will also help you beat holiday stress and keep energy levels up!
EXCUSE: It's too cold.
Surely, with the temperatures dropping and the holidays being just around the corner, Mother Nature becomes a great excuse to avoid the gym or experience the great outdoors. If this is the case for you, bring the gym home — literally.
Stair steps, chairs, your living room floor, and doorways can all be easily converted for exercise. Use these body-weight-only exercises to keep your exercise routine on track.
EXCUSE: I don't have the time.
With holiday gift-shopping, get-togethers, cooking, hosting and entertaining family members, time is more precious than ever. If you feel like you're too busy to fit in regular exercise, try combining exercise with some of your daily activities.
Park your car further away from the entrance at the mall; set up walking business meetings; take your dog for an extended walk; and create workouts with your co-workers during lunch. Recruit your family for fun, aerobic activities, such as taking brisk walks, engaging in a friendly snowball fight or visiting the public ice skating rink, the ski slopes or playing Nintendo Wii Sports video games. Physical activity is a great way to relieve stress, create team spirit and tighten emotional bonds.
EXCUSE: But I need to travel and can't take the gym with me.
If you're traveling this Holiday season, you're not alone. Millions of Americans will be on the road or in the air, but that's still not a good enough excuse to stick your exercise routine on the backburner!
People who travel for extended periods of time in an airplane should stretch to avoid deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening disorder that occurs when a blood clot forms, and create an action plan to incorporate active breaks during extended car travel.
EXCUSE: I'll start fresh in January
The new year does mean new beginnings, but wouldn't it be nice to start it with a headstart? New Year's resolutions are full of promise, but very few people actually keep them. By staying active through December, you can avoid the common new year pitfalls of doing too much too soon, which can often lead to burn-out or injuries.
EXCUSE: I can't get motivated when it's so dark.
If you’re telling yourself, “I can’t hit the running trails in the mornings, because it’s still dark outside,” or say “I may as well drive home after work because it’s dark,” it may be time to recruit an exercise buddy or hire a personal trainer. Having the accountability and companionship may be just what you need to stick to the workout on your calendar — even when it is cold and dark outside.
If you can’t find a workout buddy, try a group exercise class like indoor cycling, Zumba and boot camp. The classes might add some needed variety — and fun — to your routine, too.
EXCUSE: I have so many holiday parties to attend!
Yes, it’s definitely tough to stay on track when temptations like holiday treats are ubiquitous. While there is nothing wrong with splurging a little, you’re bound to feel better following a healthy diet while limiting your alcohol intake.
Useful tricks for party-goers include bringing your own healthy treat like a veggie platter; eating something healthy before going to the party; drinking a glass of water with every alcoholic beverage; staying away from the dessert tray; paying close attention to portion sizes; and avoiding going back for seconds.
Also, exercising before festivities helps prevent unwanted weight gain and fosters well-being, so try to fit in 30 minutes before you get ready for that party. If you don't have 30 minutes to go for a brisk walk, try breaking it up into three 10-minute walks!
Marion Webb is the writer and editor for the American Council on Exercise and is an ACE–certified Personal Trainer and an ACE–certified Group Fitness Instructor. To leave comments, please share them below. For specific fitness-related story ideas, please e-mail her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.