The holidays are often a time when weight gain seems inevitable. The weather outside is frightful, making it tougher to convince yourself to head out to exercise. You’re also busy with holiday parties, decorations, and shopping that siphons time that could be spent working out to burn off those calories. That’s without mentioning all the temptations of the holiday season, with Christmas cookies and holiday meals! Is there any way you can make it through the holiday season without completely undoing all the good work you’ve done this year with healthy eating and exercise?
While there are ways you can exercise throughout the winter, what if you’re feeling festive? Are there ways you can get fit while celebrating Christmas, too?
Getting Your Christmas Tree
The centerpiece of many Christmas decorations is the Christmas tree. For many, the convenient option is a fake tree that you can reuse each year and store in your basement. If you’re a traditionalist, though, there’s nothing that beats a real tree. Spending time with your family at a tree farm hunting down the perfect tree can be a lovely day out. It can also fit the topic of this article!
Getting your family Christmas tree mimics many of the aspects we loved about pumpkin picking in our article on fun Halloween-themed ways to get fit. It combines cardio and weight training in a low-impact package. Not only are you walking around the farm in search of the tree, you’ll also need to pick it up and either carry it to your car or carry it to a cart designed to help you. If you’re walking at a slow pace for an hour, you’ll burn around 240 to 280 calories, depending on biological features like height, weight, and fitness. You’ll likely also walk at a quicker pace for a longer time. It’s worth noting that carrying weights — like the Christmas tree or the equipment used to harvest it — can burn an additional 10 to 20 percent more calories.
You’ll be walking farther, incorporating some of the benefits of hiking, as well as the mental health benefits of being outdoors.
If you have the options, forgo parking lot tree vendors or big box stores like Walmart or Costco. Instead, try a traditional family-run tree farm if there are any nearby. You’ll get an even better selection of trees and more exercise. How? In these cases, you’ll be walking farther, in some cases up and down hills, incorporating some of the benefits of hiking, as well as the mental health benefits of being outdoors.
Join a Christmas-Themed Fun Run
Before the Thanksgiving dinner has a chance to settle in your stomach, you’ll be able to find a multitude of Christmas-themed running events you can take part in. In terms of exercise, a fun run is an excellent way to get fit! It can act as your motivation to get fit, since you’ll often need to get fitter in preparation. The fun run itself is great exercise, too. For example, if you walk a 5K, you’ll burn between 330 and 385 calories, and if you run it, you’ll burn around 661 to 772 calories. You’ll burn even more if you walk or run in a 10K or a marathon.
Best of all, many of these fun runs give their proceeds to charity, meaning you’ll be festively burning calories for a good cause!
Christmas fun runs come in all shapes in sizes. In some cases, everyone dresses as Santa for the duration run, as hundreds or even thousands dash for the finish line. Others are themed on some of our favorite Christmas movies. You can even find fun runs based on the tradition of ugly Christmas sweaters! If there’s a Christmas tradition, there’s probably a fun run devoted to it. Best of all, many of these fun runs give their proceeds to charity, meaning you’ll be festively burning calories for a good cause!
In reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic, many fun runs are being cancelled or moved to being virtual events, where people check in online and then do their run on their own. You can still find runs near you or virtual ones with a quick search.
Speaking of volunteering, the spirit of Christmas spirit of Christmas is the spirit of giving and generosity. This makes it an excellent time to give back to your community. Around the holidays, many charities and community aids could use all the help you can provide, giving you the chance to pick a group that fits your cares and abilities most. If you’re feeling frail or unfit, maybe don’t go with a more strenuous charity. If you’re not a fan of kids, maybe don’t volunteer to be a Santa for local youths.
Not only is the experience of volunteering enriching and physically rewarding, but you’ll be doing a lot of good work for your community and those who need the help most.
By reframing your volunteer efforts, you’ll also be getting a bit of a workout depending on what you volunteer to do. For example, if you’re playing with a group of disadvantaged children for an hour, you’ll burn anywhere from roughly 400 to 500 calories. If you spend the same timeframe moving boxes of donated food items or toys to be delivered to those in need, you’ll burn about 500 to 700 calories. Even if you’re serving food at a soup kitchen, which only requires you to stand, you’ll burn between 100 and 200 calories per hour. Not only is the experience of volunteering enriching and physically rewarding, but you’ll be doing a lot of good work for your community and those who need the help most. After all, that’s what the holiday season is all about!
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The holidays are a fun and relaxing time, when there’s always something festive to be done. The Christmas-vibe bleeds into everything, and this is true of the workouts, as well. If you’ve been really good the entire year, and you’re hoping to get a better, fitter body for Christmas, don’t ruin it in the lead up by quitting on your dieting and exercise. Instead, incorporate the holidays into your workout scheme for a merrier, fitter holiday season!