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10 Ways to Burn Off Holiday Calories

Fall and winter activities can help you balance out those holiday feasts

8. Sit Tight and Work Out

Every holiday includes downtime when family or friends gather around the television for a parade, a game, or a favorite old movie. Why not use that time to burn a few calories?

"Instead of sitting with your full butt on the couch, get to the end of your seat and bend your legs up off the floor, hands on the seat to give you balance, and do crunches," says Nieca Goldberg, MD, chief of Women's Cardiac Care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Goldberg also recommends getting your triceps trim by doing dips off the edge of the couch (or airport seat), firming your thighs with seated leg lifts, and building biceps by grabbing a water bottle and doing curls.

A workout in your comfy chair? It's a Wonderful Life indeed!

9. Maximize Motivation With More People

To keep her motivation at peak, Griffiths gets fired up with group fitness classes. "Being in a group can really help motivate you," she says.

Gyms and rec centers offer all kinds of classes to choose from, from yoga and aerobics to ballet, kickboxing, aquacising, and Pilates.

Want something more free-form? Get a group of friends and family to join you outside for an hour of making snow angels, sledding, searching for the last colorful leaves, hiking, or ice-skating.

A bonus: Workouts with loved ones not only keep everyone's calorie counts in check, but exercising together can help build stronger relationships, too.

10. Here's a bonus holiday fitness tip:

Just set a goal. Having a specific objective is a great way to motivate yourself, Griffiths says. Share your plan and goals with your primary care doctor.

"Set goals for how many workouts you want to get in during the week," Griffith says.

Even if it's fewer than you usually do during the rest of the year, be sure to reward yourself for meeting your objectives.

So How Much Exercise Do You Need?

Instead of tackling a weight loss regimen over the holidays, most experts suggest you simply aim for maintenance.

To stay in a steady weight state, get 30 minutes of moderate activity daily, says Jenny Graddy, coordinator of group fitness and wellness at University of Florida Recreational Sports in Gainesville, Fla.

You can rack up that 30 minutes throughout the day, Graddy stresses. Go for a 10-minute walk in the morning, play actively with your kids in the afternoon, then walk the dog before dinner, and you're there.

With the holiday hustle and bustle upon us, Griffiths reminds us that staying fit during this time is not as hard as you may think.

"Folks think they have to suffer to get fit, but they don't," she says. "They just have to get up and move!"

Reviewed on November 19, 2008

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