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Beat Holiday Stress with Exercise


When you start to tally up all the holiday parties and dinners on your plate, it’s amazing how many days this month you’ll likely be consuming the kinds of foods we all love, but know are horrible for us and our waistlines. Worse still, the holidays make it exceedingly difficult to exercise.

Where do you find the time? And with all the eggnog and pound cake consumption, what's the point?

Well there is a point. Sanity, for one. Limiting weight gain, for another. Squeezing in training sessions between parties or finding ways to be active while traveling to family events is a lot easier than it may seem. Just keep three things in mind:

  1. The best and most efficient types of workouts are short and intense. Don't look at fitting in a training session as something you have to allocate 60-90 minutes for. Set aside 20 minutes for a training session.
  2. Be creative and don't think you need a gym or any type of equipment to make this work. An open space, backyard, playground, or basement will work just fine.
  3. This doesn't have to be an everyday thing. Find three 20-minute time frames a week, and you’ll find yourself coasting through the holidays without having to drop the extra 15 you picked up come January.

Sample Holiday Training Schedule

Keep your workouts to 20 minutes, three times a week, by planning your exercises for each of the following five categories, and time each section. Keeping pressure on yourself to hustle the whole time will keep these workouts short and they’ll also be more beneficial in terms of increasing your metabolic rate.

  • Pillar Strength (2 minutes)
    Sample exercise: Reverse Crunch
    Sample routine: Do three sets of 15 reps, resting 20 seconds between sets.
  • Lower Body Warm-Up (2 minutes)
    Sample exercise: Backward lunge
    Sample routine: Perform three sets of 10 reps with each leg, resting 20 seconds between sets.
  • Upper Body Warm-Up (2 minutes)
    Sample exercise: Push-up
    Sample routine: Do three sets of 15 reps, with 20 seconds rest between sets.
  • Strength Circuit (10 minutes)
    Sample circuit: Perform alternating lunges (10 reps with each leg) followed by push-ups (15 reps) with no rest between exercises. Rest 30 seconds after you’ve completed both moves, then go again for the duration of 10 minutes.

Brian Grasso is the founder and CEO of the International Youth Conditioning Association. Learn more at iyca.org.

Tags: Stretching, Health, Pillar strength, Movement Preparation, Flexibility, Strength, Stress