10 Ways to Burn Off Holiday Calories
Fall and winter activities can help you balance out those holiday feasts
Sage butter-basted turkey. Hazelnut praline and chocolate chunk torte. White
cheddar and red pepper biscuits.
Does it seem like just reading the names of your favorite holiday
fare causes the pounds to arrive like unwelcome gifts?
Even with the best intentions, the holidays cause many of us to eat a little
too much, or to miss a few too many workouts.
So WebMD turned to health and fitness pros for holiday help.
These experts gave us some of their simple tips on how -- between travel,
parties, cooking, and company -- we can burn off some of those celebratory
1. Do Your Home Work
The scenario: A festive cookie exchange at the office causes you to miss
your yoga class, company's coming
tonight, and the house is a mess.
Lucky you! "Housework is the best way to fit in a workout without even
knowing it," says Shannon Griffiths, group fitness director for Lakeshore
Athletic Club in Boulder, Colo. Scrubbing, sweeping, vacuuming ... they all
Even cooking fires up the calorie furnace, says Griffiths, especially if
you're moving around the kitchen. So put on perky music and boogie down while
2. Shop Until You Drop -- Pounds!
"I like to use shopping as exercise, too," says Griffiths, who
maintains that the best thing about going to the mall is all the walking.
"That translates into a calorie burn."
To maximize that burn, Griffith recommends carrying your own holiday
packages, then unloading them after every stop.
"If you're going to buy something at 10 different shops, go out to your
car between each store," Griffiths says.
To encourage yourself to make those multiple trips to the parking lot or to
take the mall stairs instead of elevators, Griffiths recommends wearing a
"A pedometer really encourages you to ... get moving," she says.
"You have to go shopping, so you might as well get a workout as you're
Keep your pace brisk and you can burn 250-300 calories an hour.
3. Make Snow Your Ally
When it's snowing, it's time to bundle up and enjoy the free gym
"The best calorie-burners are those that bring the heart rate up to a
cardiovascular training zone," says Julia C. Jackson, owner of Friends in
Fitness Corporate Wellness and Personal Training in California. For most
healthy people, the American Heart Association recommends an exercise target
heart rate ranging from 50% to 75% of your maximum heart rate, which is
normally calculated as the number 220 minus your age.
Jackson advocates snowshoeing as a great way to get into that range.
"Snowshoeing is fantastic," Jackson says, "because absolutely
anyone who can walk can snowshoe." The big bonus: you'll blaze through some
563 calories an hour doing it.
And don't forget cross-country skiing, which Jackson says offers "a
complete body workout," building balance and coordination while burning
about 650 calories an hour.
Prefer other winter sports? Downhill skiing flies through 352 calories an
hour, while ice-skating glides through 493 calories an hour.