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Your Holiday Fitness Program

The holiday season can be enough to derail even the most dedicated exerciser. Here are some tips to help you stay fit through New Year's.
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5 Cold-Weather Workout Tips

If cold weather is derailing your fitness activities, personal trainer Kevin Gianni, author of The Busy Person's Fitness Solution, offers these 5 winter weather workout tips:

  1. Lace up your skates. During the winter it's often too cold, too dark, or too slippery to walk or run outside. To get in a great workout, try ice skating -- whether you go to a local pond for a pickup game of hockey, or to the local ice rink (which also offers the advantage of no wind chill).
  2. Try thermal underwear. If you really need to be outside in frigid weather, add a layer of thermal underwear, which will keep you both warm and dry by wicking sweat away from your body, Gianni suggests.
  3. Don't push it. On days when the air feels too cold to even breathe in, heed your body's signals and stay indoors. Cold air can trigger exercise-induced asthma (EIA). Symptoms include wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
  4. Try a new home routine. Bodyweight routines are exercises that need no equipment and can be done in your own home. There are many types of bodyweight routines, such as yoga, Pilates, and aerobics. Pop in a fitness DVD or download a workout on your MP3 player to get you going.
  5. Set up your own gym. Now's the time to think about getting a treadmill, elliptical machine, or stationary bike. Having your own equipment and knowing how to use it will keep you motivated and help you stay on track.

When all's said and done, says Tom Weede, a certified health and fitness instructor and author of the forthcoming book, The Entrepreneur Diet, it's important to be realistic.

"Give yourself a little slack during the holidays," he advises. "After all, it's a time to have fun and be with family and friends, and if you have a rigid attitude toward your diet and exercise, you may end up just giving up because you've set the standard too high."

So allow yourself some "cheat" days, Weede suggests. "In reality, what matters is the overall total calories you consume and the overall total you expend through physical activity over the entire holiday period. One or two splurges aren't going to derail your efforts," he says.

Remember, though, even if you find yourself simply too bogged down to exercise at all during the holidays, that's no excuse to stay inactive once the season is over, Ray says.

"If you do fall off the exercise wagon, there's no reason not to climb back aboard once your post-holiday routine is established," Ray says. "You'll find your stride again before you know it."

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Reviewed on September 25, 2008
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