Everyone writes about being healthy for the holidays. Heck, I did it about healthy travel over Thanksgiving! But with holiday season upon us, it’s never a bad thing to refresh your memory on how to stay active, healthy and happy over the course of the next two weeks.
Always Be Packin’
Workout gear, anyway. Anytime we go to a family function or to visit friends, I make sure I have leggings, a workout top and my sneakers packed in a bag. That way, I’m always ready to sneak in a quick run or workout, or even just go on a long walk a bit comfier. (Pack your run essentials with this list here.)
Christmas AM Run
A decade ago, I saw a Frazz comic strip where every Christmas morning, while it’s still dark and everyone’s holiday lights are on and twinkling, he goes out for a solo run in the absolute quiet. I wasn’t even a runner when I saw that comic, but I loved it so much, I did it that year. And that was genuinely a big reason I started running. Little habits/holiday rituals like that all add up into a decent amount of activity. Make it a Christmas day ritual to go on a morning walk, or have a family snowball fight—just make activity part of the holiday.
Try Our 500 Minutes of Movement Challenge
Rather than 500 miles or kilometers of riding over the holiday week, we challenge athletes to aim for 500 minutes of MOVEMENT. This could be a family walk/hike, Yoga with a friend, your workout of the day, strength or getting out cross-country skiing. You choose just aim for 63 minutes for each day in the 8 day holiday week (December 24 – Dec 31s). It is a tough goal… but also flexible to shift your time around and your sport/intensity.
Stay the Course, but Within Reason
Sure, your training block might be a bit deterred by family plans, and you might be eating a few extra snacks. So when you can, make sure you’re living as normally as possible. That means eating your standard healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner when you’re not partying—and even aiming for extra veggies and big salads as meals when you have the option, while also enjoying the family meals when they’re presented. And doing daily routine like my early morning yoga is fantastic: for me, I know that 15 minutes of core and stretching early in the day guarantees that I’ve moved a bit, and it usually makes me feel like getting in a quick run later.
Be Kind to Present AND Future You
When it comes to food and drink, I think the best way to stay in a space of feeling good mentally and physically during holiday season is by constantly thinking about how to be kind to yourself in the moment, and to your future self. That might look like absolutely crushing a few gingerbread men with zero guilt whatsoever, or it might mean asking for sparkling water instead of that second (third) glass of wine. It might mean having an extra glass of water with a pinch of sea salt in it before bed because you did go for that extra drink. There’s a balance between enjoying indulgences and tasty treats in the moment, but also remembering how your lactose-intolerant belly is going to feel in an hour as you try to go to sleep.