10 Tips for Staying in Shape Over the Holidays Published January 2, 2019

Students in Wellness CenterYou’ve been hitting the gym regularly and are on track to achieve your 2018 fitness goals, but your schedule is quickly filling up with holiday dinners and events. It can be difficult to maintain your health regimen with a busy schedule and tempting holiday treats everywhere you look. Instead of ditching your workout routine, use these tips to stay in shape over the holidays.

1. Move

Incorporating movement throughout the day can reduce the risk for diabetes and other health issues. If you’re committed to binge-watching holiday movies or football bowl games, make sure to get up and move for at least five minutes every hour. If you want to go the extra mile, incorporate 10 to 20 minutes of exercise several times throughout the day.

“It is a long holiday break, but students can take advantage of free classes on YouTube to help stay in shape,” Rose State Health Sports Science Professor Elizabeth Brown says.

Studies have shown this can temporarily improve moods and reduce anxiety. Pace while watching the game, do some squats, run to the kitchen for more snacks, or wrap presents to integrate movement into your day.

2. Hydrate

Hydration should already be a part of your regular health regimen, but did you know you can use it to curb hunger and cravings? The brain often confuses thirst for hunger, resulting in unnecessary snacking. Drink a large glass of water before a big meal to reduce excess eating. Proper hydration can also help your body properly digest your holiday meals to give you the best use of the nutrients you take in.

3. Plan Indulgences

The holiday season is full of parties and meals with family and friends. Instead of over-eating or avoiding treats at holiday parties, plan your indulgences in advance. If you’re concerned about eating too many appetizers because you skipped lunch, have a healthy snack before the party. This guarantees you eat at least one healthy thing that evening and fills you up so you aren’t tempted to overindulge.

If you do want to sample the hors devours, choose ones that are filled with protein – such as shrimp cocktails, chicken kabobs, and meatballs. Another planning trick is to take a lap around the buffet tables before getting in line. Make a mental list of the foods you have to try and plan your choices and portion sizes appropriately.

4. Bring Healthier Options to the Party

Don’t show up to a party empty-handed. Bring a healthy dish to make sure there is at least one nutritious item on your plate. Ask the host what you can contribute to the menu and add a nutritious twist to the recipe by substituting dairy, skipping the extra sugar, using low-sodium ingredients, or contributing a plant-based option.

5. Make a Fitness Plan

During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s easy to forget about your fitness routine. Sit down and schedule times to exercise each week. Write out your plan or schedule reminders in your phone to help you stick to your goals. Not only will this add a routine to one of the busiest seasons of the year, but it will help you be more efficient with your time and energy.

Students lifting weights6. Find a Workout Buddy

For many, the holidays are full of family visits and events. Multitask by incorporating fitness into your many meetings with friends and relatives. Meet a friend at the gym or local fitness class to burn some calories while spending time together. Catch up with family by going for a walk together after a big meal. Not only is this a great way to spend time with loved ones, but it can be a helpful accountability trick to help squeeze in that extra workout.

“Walking or running outside on a sunny winter day is a great way to boost Vitamin D and burn calories,” Brown says.

7. Get Creative

Make your fitness routine more enticing by trying new things. On busy days, multitask by power-walking while you shop or taking an extra lap or two around the mall with your shopping bags. Track your steps while dancing at holiday parties or take the family ice skating. If you crave structured workouts, take a group class, swim laps, or try a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout. Throw the football or play disc golf with friends who are visiting to bond and exercise simultaneously.

8. Sleep

Maintaining your school-year sleep schedule can be difficult when you find yourself attending various late-night holiday parties. To keep your circadian rhythm in check, avoid going to events every night – and leave certain ones early so you can get to bed on time. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep and wake up at the same time daily.

Lack of sleep can slow down your metabolism by decreasing your levels of leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full. It can also negatively affect your energy levels, making it more tempting to skip the gym and opt for a nap instead.

9. Skip the Leftovers

Between decorating Christmas cookies and preparing meals for family dinners, we have many excuses to snack over the holidays. Resist the urge to indulge in holiday treats throughout the day by passing on the leftovers. Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with nutritious snacks instead of high-calorie, sugary treats. If they aren’t easily on hand, you will be less tempted to grab a handful of sweets on your way out the door.

The Rose State Wellness and Aquatics Center

The key to staying in shape over the holidays is making a plan to incorporate wellness into your routine and sticking to it. While the Rose State Wellness and Aquatics Centers will be closed until January 1, 2019, our staff will be ready and eager to help you achieve your goals for the spring semester.

The Wellness Center is available to credit students, full-time Rose State employees, adjunct professors, and community members with individual memberships. Our centers offer a variety of opportunities to keep your fitness routine interesting, including our cardiovascular and strength training areas, open activity area, and group classes. The Wellness Center also features a wellness assessment lab offering risk factor, body fat, flexibility, blood pressure, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance screenings.

Stop by the Aquatics Center any time of year to take advantage of the 25-meter, six-lane, indoor heated swimming pool as well as the whirlpool and sauna. Classes are offered throughout the year at the Center, including water aerobics, aquatic fitness, lifeguard training, H20 strength training, aqua dance, and more. Make sure to check out the full line up of exciting classes scheduled for Spring 2019 semester.

The Wellness and Aquatics Centers are open Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4p.m. Ready to get moving? Apply for a membership or stop by for a quick workout.