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Get Fit Without the Gym

Learn how to burn off holiday calories without going to the gym

Deck Those Halls

Holiday decorating and housecleaning can also help compensate for some holiday dinner sins. A sweaty hour of climbing up and down ladders and hoisting strings of lights and garlands of green fits in the moderate activity category -- so there's another 250 calories. Now, if you're willing to head out and chop your own tree down at the local tree farm, that counts as "vigorous exercise," burning 7 calories or more per minute, Jordan says. So that half hour of hacking away at the Douglas fir and dragging it to your car burns at least 210 calories. If you can't chop the tree down yourself, at least amp up your walking during the tree search by making it a challenge: stride around the lot with the kids, scouring it for the perfect tree.

Most housecleaning, Jordan says, fits the "light activity" category and only burns a few calories an hour. But it adds up, and if you're moving furniture to get at those often-neglected areas that only get cleaned when family comes to visit, you're exercising more vigorously. Half an hour of hauling the furniture around to clean the corners or make room for the tree nets you about 210 calories burned.

Outdoor chores around the holidays can really make a dent in your calorie overload. Shoveling the sidewalk burns about 350 calories in just a half hour, while an hour of raking leaves takes off 200 calories. "Don't get the kid next door to do it or use the snow blower or leaf blower," says Jordan. "Pace yourself --don't let a foot of snow stack up on you. Shovel it once you've got three inches on the ground, and go out again after another three inches."

Once your own house sparkles with holiday cheer, many people like to take the kids out to ooh and aah over the lights and decorations around town. Here's a novel idea: walk. "Bundle the kids up and walk around the neighborhood to see the decorations," says Henson. "So often we're in the car, confined, driving around to look at Christmas lights. It's great to get out and move, and you'll get a better view."

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