5 Reasons NOT to Skip Your Workout During the Holidays
Excuses for not exercising over the holidays abound. They range from the quite understandable, like “I have to get my holiday cards sent!” or “I have to make dinner for 12!” to the totally absurd: “I have to get the dog neutered so he won’t embarrass us in front of our holiday guests!”
Many people profess feeling selfish about taking time for themselves during the holidays. Well, it’s time to put a stop to those feelings and get moving!
Feeling guilty? Wake up earlier to get in your workout, then go about your day as normal. You won’t be taking any more “me” time than you were by sleeping.
Exercise, especially during this holiday season, should be at the top of your “to do” list. Here’s why:
1. You’ll keep off the holiday pounds.
Yes, scaring women by telling them they’ll gain 7-10 pounds during the holidays is how all magazines sell their December / January issues. Lucky for you, it’s not true. You’d have to have a nightly egg-nog chugging contest to reach such rapid weight gain!
However, according to a study conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, people do gain about a pound over the winter season—and that pound usually doesn’t come off.
One pound is not a big deal, right? That’s 10 pounds over the course of a decade—and while you’re getting older, your metabolism is slowing down, making it even harder to shed those pesky holiday pounds.
So, exercise! Just 30 minutes of jogging a day can burn 300 calories—enough to let you indulge in a holiday treat without worrying about having the holidays over the years accumulate in your midsection.
2. You’ll feel jollier!
Replace some of your holiday drinking (no, alcohol is not necessary to make you more congenial!) with exercise, and benefits awaiting you might include: no drunk dialing, no puffy eyes, no hangovers, and no extra caloric baggage.
Seriously, exercise will make you happier. It’s a scientific fact. Exercise stimulates your brain’s pituitary gland to release endorphins, your very own—and entirely legal—natural morphine, which will give you a feeling of euphoria when released.
What do you have to do to get this endorphin rush? According to Robert G. McMurray of the University of Carolina at Chapel Hill, all you have to do is 20 to 30 minutes of exercise at 80% of your capacity.
The more stressed you are, the more exercise you’ll need to balance you out. Just remember, you’ll come back from your morning jog or trip to the gym ready to tackle those Christmas cards and bake that fruit cake with a smile and holiday cheer!
3. You’ll save money.
Stress can wreak havoc on your immune system. The last thing you want over the holidays is to become sick, thereby becoming more stressed, thereby entering a nasty cycle of immunosuppression and unhappiness.
Exercise can combat stress by making you happier (see above) and healthier. As you know, when you’re happy and healthy, you’re not in the doctor’s office wracking up medical bills and prescription fees for happy medicine.
Even better—, if you’re not sick, you’ll be around more, and more useful while you’re around. So take the time for yourself to exercise guilt-free!
4. You’ll look hot at your holiday parties!
No weight loss required!
As we’ve seen, exercise can make you happier, healthier, and it also boosts self-confidence. Embarking on an exercise plan allows you to set goals—goals you can work toward achieving every day, like jogging for a full 20 minutes.
A sense of achievement is a great self-confidence booster. (And so are those more-defined muscles you’ll get from being active!)
Self-confidence is always at the top of the list of what makes people attractive. When you hit the holiday party scene happy with yourself, it’ll show. Make sure to have a place to put all those phone numbers you’ll be receiving!
5. You’ll have more energy to tackle everything else!
So it may not seem like jerking yourself out of bed at 5am to go for a jog could possibly make you more peppy. But it can!
Says Tim Puetz, PhD of the University of Georgia exercise psychology laboratory, “We live in a society where people are always looking for the next sports drink, energy bar, or cup of coffee that will give them the extra edge to get through the day, but it may be that lacing up your tennis shoes and getting out and doing some physical activity every morning can provide that spark of energy that people are looking for."
So no more excuses this holiday season! Get out there and get your blood pumping fast in a positive way—not because of the anxiety you feel every time your mother-in-law opens her gift!
If someone told you there was a gift that would make you happier, more self-confident, healthier, and more energetic, wouldn’t you want it NOW? You can have it NOW…run! (Or dance, or rock climb, or bike, or swim…)