Five Exercises You Can Do to Stay Healthy During the Holiday Festivities
The holidays are a time of celebration, family fun, quality time with loved ones, and making memories that will last a lifetime. All those warm, happy feelings come with some caveats, though, including increased stress levels and abundant delicious foods!
While over-indulging in holiday foods may be unavoidable at times, doing so can put a damper on the festivities by making you feel ill or causing you to gain unwanted weight. So, how do you enjoy the joy and cheer—and most importantly, food—of the holidays while staying happy and healthy?
While the answer is complex and differs from person to person, one thing that is bound to help is staying active! This does not mean you need to rush out to join a gym (save that for New Year’s, right?). It can be as simple as adding a few basic exercises and stretches to your day. Here are our top five exercises you can do to stay healthy during the holiday festivities!
Go for a Walk
This may seem a bit basic, but it is easy to lose track of time during the holidays. By getting outside and partaking of the crisp fall air, you will do your body—and your mind—a huge favor! Walking, even for just 10 minutes at a time, can help reduce stress and limit weight gain. For further encouragement, you can ask loved ones to join you for some quality time outdoors. Now that is spreading the holiday cheer!
Do Bodyweight Exercises
You do not need a gym membership, or even workout equipment, to stay healthy during the holidays. Instead, you can utilize your own body to get a workout in at any time!
From the classic recommendations of pushups and sit-ups to more advanced moves like lunges and air squats, your body can provide enough resistance to not only stay healthy, but also build muscle! Best of all, you can easily scale your bodyweight exercises to your level of fitness—simply add more repetitions as you progress.
A form of active stretching for some and peaceful relaxation for others, the benefits of yoga are known to be both physical and mental—and sometimes even emotional. That is great news for those trying to stay active while simultaneously reduce stress during the holidays! Another benefit of yoga is that it covers a range of physical activity, from strength building to stretching.
While just the idea of stretching may cause flashbacks to gym class and trying to touch your toes, the truth is stretching can be very active and far more interesting (and beneficial) than those static gym class stereotypes.
Often times, it is not your muscles causing the tension that leads to aches and pains, but your fascia—the connective tissue that holds your muscles, ligaments, nerves, and so on together as a unit.
By stretching regularly, you can help this tough tissue “release” a bit, effectively relieving both the physical tension in your body and the intangible tension caused by holiday stress!
Give Yourself a Massage
Hand-in-hand with stretching comes deep tissue massage. More beneficial and longer-lasting than your average visit to the spa, this type of massage targets the deeper layers of muscles, as well as the fascia.
By using various items that you can find at most sporting goods stores—such as tennis balls, foam rollers, or specifically-designed massage balls that have smooth, rounded protrusions—you can perform a deep tissue massage on yourself.
While the specific technique varies based on the muscle group, the general approach is to place the tennis ball or other tool on a certain area of the body, apply pressure by lying on the ground or leaning against a wall, and slowly moving the tool around. As you do so, you will feel what known as trigger points. It is important to take your time and revisit these trigger points to help work them out!
Our Final Thoughts
While overall health and well-being involves a combination of many things, exercise is one of the primary contributors to a healthier, happier you!
Before you jump into a new exercise routine, it is always a good idea to reach out to your primary care doctors or family health center to ensure you are ready for such activities. If they tell you to go for it, make sure you ease into it and take time to adjust!
As a local family practitioner in Kentucky, KentuckyCare is committed to providing you stellar medical care and easy-to-understand information about staying healthy. For more details on the exercises here or materials on how to help you and your family feel better, give us a call at 866-810-7602. We cannot wait to hear from you!