The holiday season is upon us! With the non-stop celebrations all month long, it can be difficult to figure out where your usual fitness plan fits into your busy holiday schedule.
It’s hard to make healthy choices during the holidays, especially with all the food and the drinks. One month of social activity is just enough time to throw off your entire health routine.
Keep reading for ways to stay motivated during the holiday season, different fall and winter exercise options and fun local events in Kansas City to get your workout on in between the holiday hustle and bustle.
Reasons to Workout During the Holidays
Rich food, the cold weather, stress and the hangovers — there are endless reasons why people don’t wait to exercise this time of year. But there are also plenty of reasons you should prioritize your usual fitness routine.
According to Mayo Clinic, exercise boosts your energy by delivering oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Exercise also improves your mood with the various brain chemicals that stimulate and leave your body feeling happier and relaxed. Lastly, exercise can be very fun! Joining a spin class or yoga studio can help you make connections and build new relationships.
According to CentraCare, here are some reasons why it’s a good idea to exercise before, during and after the holidays:
- Holiday Weight Gain – Replacing healthier options with holiday favorites is hard to avoid. Exercise will make your body feel better and help you feel less guilty.
- Holiday Stress – Exercise reduces stress by releasing “feel good” endorphins and provides an outlet to release built-up stress.
- Seasonal Depression – With daylight savings, our hours in the sun are limited. Exercising can reduce depression symptoms and elevate mood.
- Exercise Provides Structure – By maintaining your regular routine in the face of a demanding holiday social schedule, you are providing stability and comfort for yourself.
Benefits of Fall and Winter Workouts
As we all know, working out can almost feel like a chore, but there are many perks to getting yourself into a better workout routine. With winter right around the corner, there are a few reasons why exercising in the fall is essential to your health. According to Nirvana Fitness, exercising in the fall is important because:
- It’s the “routine” time of the year – Now that summer is over, fall is the time of the year to get back into a routine by working out, going to work and juggling the busy social schedule that comes with holiday celebrations.
- It helps to exercise your brain – Workouts during the fall help the brain and the body release dopamine and endorphins. Exercising will help challenge the daily grind, reduce any anxiety and boost your sense of wellbeing.
- It helps you to eat more healthy – Exercising helps you eat mindfully, especially with all of the seasonal, vitamin-rich vegetables available this time of year.
- It helps boost your immune system – Stay consistent with your exercise routine during fall. Twenty minutes of daily exercise is enough to help your body fight against the seasonal illnesses like the flu.
During fall, working out may come easier because of the mild temperatures, but once winter comes it might be more difficult to get a workout in, especially outdoor workouts. But, believe it or not, a winter workout is one of the best workouts for you. According to North Central Surgical Center, these are the top benefits of a winter workout:
- You’ll burn more calories – Your body has to work harder to regulate its core temperature, meaning you’ll burn more calories during a cold-weather workout compared to a warm-weather workout.
- You’ll do more for your heart – If you have a healthy heart, exercising outside can make your heart even stronger and build more endurance for harder workouts in the future.
- You won’t forget your warm-up and cool-down – It’s easier to remember these essential pre- and post-workout steps during colder temperatures. Get in the habit of warming up and cooling down during the winter so you will continue that habit when warm weather returns.
- You’ll get much-needed vitamin D – Working out outdoors will give you a good dose of vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy and to protect you from diseases and conditions.
- You’ll be happier and more energized – As your body works harder in a winter workout, your endorphin production will increase.
Where To Start
It’s hard enough to stay motivated without throwing holidays and end-of-year work schedules in the mix. The holidays can be a very stressful time with dinners, gifts, parties and family events, but working out and maintaining a healthy diet can help reduce stress.
According to Very Well Fit, here are some ways to maintain holiday fitness:
- Plan Ahead – If you’re traveling, planning ahead can make a difference and will make you stick to your workout plan.
- If you’re staying with family or friends, find nearby gyms that will allow guests or day passes.
- Find walking or running trails near you.
- If you’re staying in a hotel, use the exercise room.
- Get Prepared – Plan for the worst-case scenario.
- Bring a 10-minute workout plan with you.
- Bring resistance bands or easy-to-pack equipment.
- Bring along your computer to watch workout videos.
- Use Every Opportunity – Be creative and move your body in any way you can.
- If everyone is watching football, do some sit-ups or push-ups.
- If you’re hanging around with kids, organize a flag-football game or tag.
- Walk as much as possible, with a dog or even take an extra lap around the shopping mall.
This might sound impossible, but there are ways to eat healthy during the holiday season. It may be hard to not indulge in pumpkin pie, mac-n-cheese, sugar cookies and candy canes, but with these helpful tips, it may be easier than you think. According to Family Doctor, here are a few ways to stay healthy during the holidays:
If you’re the host:
- Shop smart – Try to pick up items outside the perimeter of the store because that is where the whole and nutritious items are located.
- Focus on produce – Fresh produce can be used in many different ways like for dips and side dishes.
- Lighten up your recipe – Reduce fat and calories without missing out on taste with alternatives like egg whites or fat-free versions of creamy ingredients.
If you’re the guest:
- Use a small plate – Small plates will help you manage your portion sizes.
- Start simple – Fill your plate with all of the healthy options available like veggies and low-calorie side dishes.
- Limit alcohol – Start with low-calorie, non-alcoholic drinks that will help quench your thirst.
- Socialize away from food – Take your mind off food by engaging in conversation or participating in an activity away from the food table.
Staying Fit in Kansas City
With the holiday cheer finally coming to Kansas City, there are many fun activities to participate in to keep your body moving! Kansas City tends to host many events and races for you and the whole family to participate in. Now that the holidays are coming closer, there are many Christmas-themed races in and around Kansas City. Races are fun to be a part of because of the family atmosphere, the cause and it’s a great way to stay motivated!
Sign up or donate to one of these local races for you and your family to be a part of this holiday season:
- Hot Chocolate Hustle on Saturday, December 4, 2021 in Ottawa, Kans.
- Jingle Bell Run on Sunday, December 5, 2021 in Overland Park, Kans.
- Candy Cane Course KC 5K on Saturday, December 11 in Kansas City, Mo.
- Great Santa Run 5K on Sunday, December 12 in Overland Park, Kans.
- Kansas City Santa Shuffle 5K on Saturday, December 18 in Kansas City, Mo.
This holiday season we want you to stay motivated and make healthier choices! If you are interested in learning more about our services related to weight loss, book a consultation at KC Primary Care and Medical Concierge. KC Primary Care is here for all of your health needs during this holiday season. Call us at 816.479.5222 or visit https://kcprimarycare.com to learn more.