The holidays are coming. This means turkey, stuffing, potatoes made a million ways, ham, pumpkin pie and that to-die-for side one of your relatives makes you look forward to once a year. Yes, many defeated souls in November and December, facing a parade of dietary no-nos, time constraints and family commitments, have said to me, “I’ll just wait to set a workout schedule until after the holidays.” And let there be no doubt: many fitness centers experience a spike in membership come January 1st as holiday food guilt surfaces.
But, contrary to popular belief, there’s no better time than before the holidays to start the healthy habit of working out.
And why you might ask? The American Heart Association, at heart.org, recommends “At least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity at least 5 days per week.” And of course there’s hundreds of articles on the Internet—from testimonials to those drenched in science speak—we can read about how we feel better when we move more and eat better. This is why starting the healthy habit of working out before or during the holidays—when we face the most temptation and desire to eat a lot of food—might just make us think a little bit more about moving and a little bit less about that second slice of pie.
So how do you begin? There are many theories on when habits develop, from days to weeks to months, but there’s no doubt they all start with one thing: the first step.
Here are some helpful tips to start you on your way:
- Press on after the initial excitement fades. Let’s face it, honeymoons don’t last forever and what you found exciting your first day of working out may not cut it anymore—change it up and stay positive!
- Surround yourself with healthy food choices (at home, at work, in the car…everywhere!).
- Ask yourself honest questions about what fitness adds to your life. For example, “After I work out I feel ______,” and “When I don’t work out I feel _____.” There are few people who would say they feel better when they don’t work out. It’s OK to lose the battle on occasion, but fight through skipping the gym on a regular basis.
- Prepare and commit! Keep a packed gym bag in your car and schedule gym time just like any other appointment.
Take the first step towards the healthy habit of working out now—the holidays will still be there!