How to Fit Fitness Into the Holidays

By: Mollie Shauger | Friday, December 6, 2019 | Fitness

A woman does push-ups at home. Credit: iStock

Between the cold weather and holiday preparations, it can be hard to find the time or even the energy to exercise this time of year. But staying active can help combat stress, boost your energy levels, burn all those extra calories, and keep your holiday spirits bright. 

Here are some simple ways to fit fitness into your holidays, with exercises to try at home.

Take advantage of “down time.”

Find small opportunities to squeeze in “mini-workouts,” whether it’s before work or while watching TV. Sneaking in short 10-minute bursts of activity is an easy way to accumulate your 30 minutes of activity, says Barbara Santola, health enhancement director at the West Essex YMCA. During TV commercials, you can do squats or lunges and pushups (you can do wall push-aways).

Recruit an exercise buddy. 

A buddy can help you stay motivated and also hold you accountable. Checking in with someone else daily will make you think twice about skipping a session, notes Santola.

Be ready for spontaneous exercise.

Wear your running or walking shoes as often as possible, suggests VeryWellFit. You may find a 20-minute window when people are napping or before dinner for a quick walk or run.

Plan ahead for travel.

If you’re going out of town, see what running or walking trails are nearby. Check to see if your hotel has a gym, or if there is a YMCA nearby. Full-facility Y members have access to more than 2,300 Ys across the country through the Nationwide Membership program.

Work out while you shop.

Take an extra lap around the mall or use the stairs instead of the escalator. Walking can be just as effective as running, and can also help boost your mental health and increase your attentiveness, experts say

Exercises to try at the gym, at home, or while you travel:

  • Doing two or three circuits with little rest between exercises will give you a cardiovascular workout as well as maintain your muscular strength and endurance. Perform each of the following exercises for 1 minute each: Mountain climbers, push-ups, jumping jacks or jump rope, alternating lunges, squats or wall squats, crunches or ab crank, and finally plank hold. 
  • Rise and shine with a 30-second plank, and end the day with a 1-minute plank hold.
  • Follow the 5-10-15 rule: 5 pushups, 10 sit-ups, 15 squats, 10 second rest, 5 jump squat (or regular squat), 10 alternating lunges, 15 reverse crunch. Perform this circuit as many times as you can fit in 10 minutes. You can repeat as often as you like.

Stay active this holiday season with the YMCA. Check your local branch for a schedule of gym activities and group exercise classes. 


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