Don’t get snowed by the December doldrums – put the ‘win’ in winter.
Feels like we’re just racing to the end of 2013! Shorter days, colder nights, and a schedule packed with holiday events can make it a little tricky to keep fitness and nutrition in mind.
Last time, we talked about ways to hack November healthy. This time let’s look at how to put a spin on a few traditional activities or methods to increase productivity and efficiency, and to help us all stay fit as a freezing fiddle in the last days of the year.
1. Let sickness talk to the hand. This is an old one but a good one: to defend against nasty colds and flus, make sure to wash your hands frequently. If you aren’t near a sink or somewhere you can easily wash up, try carrying a small spritzer of anti-bacterial spray or even a small pack of baby wipes. If you’re in a sea of sickies at the local grocery store this stuff can give you a quick cleanup on aisle seven.
2. Work with the exercises you’ve got. If you’re in certain parts of the country, use the weather to your advantage and try out some new calorie-burning sports. Cross country skiing, ice-skating, snow shoeing, and the much-maligned snow shoveling all burn fat. If you’re strapped for time (aren’t we all?), even sandwiching in a brisk lunchtime walk can keep your blood pumping and your metabolism up.
3. Join a workout club. It’s easier to stay committed when you have to imagine the disappointed looks on your friends’ faces if you flake out on exercising with them. Being part of an exercise group might be just the additional impetus you need to keep your commitment to them and to yourself. Runner’s groups are gaining popularity nationwide - check out one in your town.
4. Soup up dinner. Winter offers a bumper crop of healthy fresh eats, and many of them make great soups! Winter squashes are low in calories but high in vitamins, potassium, and folate and are easy to turn into soup with an immersion blender. A bonus is that you’ll have vitamin and nutrient rich leftover soup for lunch the next day.
5. Shop ‘til you drop pounds. Believe it or not, holiday shopping can be a source of exercise. A new British study shows that people burn 1,572 calories on an average shopping trip and will walk 20 miles during the month to complete Christmas shopping.
6. Chop down a tree. If you haven’t gotten your Christmas tree yet, then think about cutting down your own tree at a local tree farm. Not only is it a fun family experience, it’s also a better for the environment than purchasing one at a tree lot. But one of the best reasons might be the calories burned – while estimates vary (from between 300 to 1000 cals an hour) it’s safe to say that you could burn off a slice of yule log by chopping down a tree.
7. Join a gym. If you don’t belong to one already, December is a great time to join a gym. It’s a warm, dry place to workout during inclement weather, and many gyms offer discounted memberships in December. Plus, joining now will help you get a jumpstart on your New Year’s resolutions. That’s gym dandy!
So stay strong, enjoy the wonderland, and take these life hacks to the snow bank.
The MyFitnessPal Team
Do you have any helpful tips to make the most out of December? Tell us about them in the comments below and on our Facebook page.