A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Getting Fit: Six ways to stay active and healthy over the Holidays as you enjoy food and activities

By Heather Thomas
Special to NKyTribune

It’s that time of year again! Through the end of the year, your schedule will likely be filled with festive activities which usually include delicious treats that even the most disciplined find hard to turn down. Not making the time to fit in exercise, combined with an overindulgence of food, will disrupt your normal weight-control intentions.

While it is important to enjoy the holiday season, you will feel better going into the New Year if you make an effort to keep moving. Here are six tips to stay active:

1. Have a weekly plan. Take it week by week and fit in some exercise when you see an open block of time. Even a quick 20-30 minute workout is better than no workout at all. On days that you have more time, plan to take advantage of it and walk a little further, take a yoga class or include a few more sets of strength exercises.

2. Sign up for a fitness challenge or create one. Many gyms and fitness studios have challenges to keep you motivated this time of year. Or, come up with a personal challenge designed specifically to help you stay active. Make your own parameters so that it is attainable and you also feel accomplished. You can even gift yourself a prize for completing your challenge!

3. Attend a holiday workout class. Many fitness boutiques offer special themed classes and workshops. Mark your calendar and invite a friend to make it a fun date. The Barre Code always has a 75-minute boot camp class on Thanksgiving day called “Turkey Burn” as well as a New Year’s “Last Blast” event.

4. Deep clean your house. Getting up and down repeatedly, scrubbing bathrooms and countertops, dusting, vacuuming, etc. all take strength and can get your heart rate up. If you are planning to have guests or a party, rather than saving all your cleaning for the day before, plan to put in some time daily before they arrive. This will also help eliminate some of the  stress that comes along with being the host!

5. Build physical activities into family gatherings. Encourage out-of-town family and friends to bring clothes suitable for activity. On a nice day, take a walk around the neighborhood or visit a local park. Go to an ice skating rink, play laser tag or putt putt golf. If it’s snowing, even better! Go sledding, have a “friendly” snowball fight or build a snowman.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. While it is important to stick with your routine, understand that this is the time of year to spend with family and friends. Skipping a few workouts is not going to set you back too much. Recognize when you need to get back into your rhythm and don’t dwell on it if you have to miss your regular sweat session. Enjoy every moment of this season with loved ones because that will bring you the most joy!


Heather Thomas has been active her entire life and has accumulated various fitness certifications through AFAA, LesMills and Yogafit. Thomas joined the staff of The Barre Code in Louisville in the 2015, where she now serves as Studio Manager and Master Trainer.

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