Let the Holiday Spirit Spark Your Fitness Routine

Written by: Shannon Polk, Kudos Team Contributor

As we near the end of the year, we find ourselves celebrating the holidays at work parties and family gatherings with rich foods and drinks. You may take more time to relax and enjoy the company of your friends—and you should! The holidays are a great time to reconnect and rejuvenate, but that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your fitness and well-being. Stay healthy with these motivational tips: 

Work Out for the Joy of It
Most days I feel better after I work out, whether it’s going for a short run or hitting the gym. This is typically what motivates me to exercise, but what about the workout itself? Just the other day I wasn’t particularly excited to go out for a snowy, icy run; however, I was able to relax and smile once I got going. I didn’t worry about my pace, but instead took in the wintry cityscape and couldn’t help but grin when a snowflake hit my lips as if Mother Nature was encouraging me to open my mouth and stick out my tongue. So find something you like about working out, whether it’s running in the snow, sweating it out at your favorite gym class or going for a swim at an indoor pool. You’re more likely to get off the couch and exercise if you can find something to smile about. Maybe try some festive music by spicing up your workout with this holiday playlist.

Try Something New
To mix things up, consider signing up for a holiday-inspired race. I’m glad I signed up for a Turkey Trot this year because it’s likely I wouldn’t have exercised on Thanksgiving if I hadn’t committed to that race. It was also a lot of fun! If races aren’t your thing, why not try that kickboxing class you’ve had your eye on or sign up for dance lessons? Now is a great time to try something new, and, if you like it, you can create some New Year’s fitness goals for that particular activity. 

Include Family and Friends
It’s harder to turn away from a workout when you have family or friends committed to doing it with you. If you’re out of town for the holidays, why not go with them to a fitness class at a local gym? It’s a fun, healthy way to bond with the people you care about. Plus, if your family or friends are members at a gym in their area, they may be able to get you a discounted or free guest pass. I remember my mother-in-law was able to get me and my husband guest passes at her local gym and, after working out, we found ourselves shooting hoops on the basketball court just for fun. During past holiday visits, I’ve also had fun kicking around the soccer ball with my siblings (we all played growing up).

Regardless of the activity, you can also motivate yourself by knowing you won’t have to feel guilty about those favorite holiday foods and drinks. Won’t you feel better indulging some eggnog or a peppermint chocolate tart knowing you worked out earlier that day? No matter how you stay active over the holidays, remember to have fun with it! And if you’ve spent too much time working out and forgot about your holiday shopping, check out these gift guides for active moms and for dads who go the extra mile!