Five Fun Ways to Keep Active Over the Holidays

Amber Nason • Dec 08, 2016

The holidays can be a time of overindulgence and inactivity, especially when it comes to a fitness routine. You may attend numerous holiday parties and be presented with a variety of sweets and high-fat foods, making it hard to eat healthy. Plus, your “holiday attitude” might make exercise less attractive.

This doesn’t have to be the case; you can keep your “holiday attitude” and be healthy. Try to avoid unhealthy holiday foods by choosing healthier alternatives. See our article on Holiday Eating Dos and Don’ts. You can also incorporate the holiday spirit into your fitness activities. Instead of trudging to the gym, try the following fun activities instead:

TAKE A BRISK WALK

Get outside and enjoy the winter scenery. Calgary and Regina boast a beautiful array of nature walks that are spectacular in the wintertime. If you have family or friends staying with you, invite them along. A brisk walk can do wonders for your mental health by improving your mood and relieving stress. Plus, winter’s limited number of daylight hours means you should take advantage of sunlight, and the benefits of exposure to Vitamin D, whenever you can. In fact, a brief 15-minute walk shortly after a meal improves digestion, burns calories and helps control blood sugar levels. Just take care not to fall!

GO SKATING

What winter activity could be more Canadian than skating? Maybe you have an outdoor rink in your community, or maybe you can head down to the local arena; either way skating is great exercise. It’s low impact and easy on the joints, and it improves balance and coordination. Plus, depending on how hard you skate and your weight, ice skating burns from 300-650 calories per hour. You can even make it a skating party by inviting your friends and family to join you. Then treat everyone to a nice hot cup of cocoa afterwards; made with dark chocolate it’s even good for you!

PLAY IN THE SNOW

Take advantage of the crisp, clean winter air, and no bugs, and have some fun in the snow. Start a snowball fight or go sledding. It’s fun at any age and repeatedly climbing up that sledding hill is great exercise. Plus, gliding down the hill with the snow and cold air rushing past your face, or hurling a nice, fat snowball, are great stress relievers.

HOST AN INTERACTIVE GAME NIGHT

This is an activity you can do indoors. It can be enjoyed on your own, but it’s much more fun if you invite people to join you. Watching your friends and family compete in interactive video games like Just Dance (Wii) or Dance Central (Xbox), or other fitness games, can be hilarious. Who wouldn’t enjoy watching grandma try to dance to the latest pop song! Plus, laughing is good for you; it lowers stress levels and boosts the immune system.

CLEANING

It may be more of a chore than a fun activity, but this “chore” does have its benefits. A good bout of shoveling snow, or a vigorous cleaning of your kitchen or bathroom, is a great way to multi-task. You clean up a mess and burn calories. Plus, a clean, clutter-free house has been known to reduce stress and improve your mood. It’s important to note that vigorous exercises like shoveling snow should be undertaken with care and a knowledge of your risk factors.

So, this holiday season we hope you enjoy your time with family and friends and take care of yourself along the way. For more ideas of holiday fun, visit these lists of things to do in Calgary and Regina.

For more information on calories burned through other everyday activities, see this list of calories burned in 30 minutes for a variety of activities.


REFERENCES

Best Health Magazine Canada (2012) “The fitness benefits of ice skating.” www.besthealthmag.ca. January-February

Calgary Urban Hikes

Chilukoti, B. (2015) “Surprising benefits of walking 100 steps after dinner.” www.thehealthsite.com. February.

Cohen, Jennifer. (2013) “10 chores than burn 100 calories.” www.health.com. April.

Franke, A., et al. (2008) “Postprandial walking but not consumption of alcoholic digestifs or espresso accelerates gastric emptying in healthy volunteers.” Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases. March, 17 (1): 27-31.

Griffin, R.M. (2006) “Give your body a boost – with laughter.” www.webmd.com. April.

Karunaratne, Dayanti (2016) “Ask the experts: Is snow shoveling good exercise – or deadly?” www.ottawamagazine.com. January.

Mayo Clinic. (2016) “Stress relief from laughter? It’s no joke.” www.mayoclinic.org. April.

MyHealth.Alberta.ca (2016) Quick Tips: Staying Active in Cold Weather. Taken November 21, from www.myhealth.alberta.ca

O’Connor, Anahad (2013) “Really? The Claim: Taking a Walk After a Meal Aids Digestion.” www.well.blogs.nytimes.com. June.

Saxbe, D.E. and Repetti, R. (2010) “No place like home: Home tours correlate with daily patterns of modd and cortisol.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 36 (1): 71-81

Skerrett, P. J. (2011) “Protect your heart when shoveling snow.” Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School. June.

van Marken Lichtenbelt, W., et al. (2014) “Cold exposure – an approach to increasing energy expenditure in humans.” Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism. April, 25 (4): 165–167.

Fitness, Healthy Living