So I know that we always hear that the average American gains 5 pounds during the holiday season, but that is actually an inaccurate claim. Studies have shown that average-sized people gain closer to one pound per year during the holidays. However, the problem is that the one pound is never lost. So year after year of a one pound weight gain during the holidays can eventually cause some serious health problems.
The usual culprit for this unwanted weight is an excess in our intake, without the added movement necessary to offset the weight gain. So how do we fix it? MOVE MORE DURING THE HOLIDAYS!
On December 3rd, I (along with my man candy husband and some wonderful friends) ran the St. Jude half marathon for the second time. The first time I ran it, my life was changed forever. Not only did I put my body through more vigorous training that I ever thought I was capable of, but seeing the faces of mothers, grandparents, and actual patients of St. Jude along my course will forever be in my memory. This year was the first time I ran it as a mother myself, and I had to choke back tears nearly the entire way.
Although running has been my way of helping keep those holiday pounds off, do not think that moving more during the holidays means that you have to go run 13.1 miles. Or even make it to the gym everyday. The holidays are a time meant to spend with family and friends and tend to cause us to become extra busy during this time of year. So it is understandable that structured physical activity may not be the priority. Small and easy attempts can be made to ensure that you move a little more this holiday season.
Here are some ideas:
- Park at the back of the parking lot during your Christmas shopping. Parking lots are crazy this time of year anyway, why not save yourself some frustration and burn a few extra calories all at once?
- Take an extra lap around the store when doing that Christmas shopping
- Try an “X days til Christmas” physical activity countdown- Each time you move the advent calendar, do that number of jumping jacks, push ups. burpees, etc. with your family
- Turn on the Christmas music and dance it out with your family (making fun memories too!) or do some squats and lunges while the Christmas goodies are baking
- Play games that involve movement such as charades, relays, or a number of other DIY ideas that you can find on Pinterest (such as this ornament toss game)
All of these activities can be done DURING your crazy busy days this holiday season. They will burn some extra calories AND increase our serotonin and mood. I don’t know about you, but I could definitely use both of those things in the weeks to come!
By making sure you THINK (as discussed in the last blog) before you eat, and get in some creative physical activity, you should maintain your weight this holiday season!
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