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Staying active during the break is a challenge worth accepting

Photo by KayCie Gravelle 

‘Tis the season of indulgence. We fill ourselves up with  gifts, food, and relaxation, but balance is key when it comes to holiday excess. If you want to beat the “festive 15,” staying active during the holidays is a necessity.

Certified fitness instructor Jenn Rottmann lists outdoor activities as excellent ways to work out if students are home and don’t have access to a gym.

“Snowshoeing in Gatineau Park is cheap—I think rentals are about $10—and are a great cardio and leg workout,” she says. “Skiing, snowboarding, and skating are great for cardio and all-over body conditioning, especially if you are out for more than an hour.”

Though many of us love getting outside and enjoying the fresh air, Canadian winters are sometimes too cold to bear for a substantial amount of outdoor activity time. Electronic workout aids, like Wii Fit and Jane Fonda workout videos, are also an option. Though indoor fitness devices are good ways to get us on our feet when the cold weather and holiday treats have made us sedentary, Rottmann says they shouldn’t be your only workout method.

“Wii Fit and workout DVDs can play a role in maintaining your health, but should not be relied on solely,” she says. “As with anything to do with health and fitness, variation is good.”

The best way to keep in shape regardless of your sweet tooth or holiday hibernations plans is to do a variety of different activities.. Snowball fights, sledding, and shoveling—an activity that Rottmann says burns up to 400 calories per hour—are all methods of staving off the festive 15.

But what about simple, everyday activities? Can things like Boxing Day shopping and house cleaning really make a difference in our health?

“I really don’ think shopping can be considered a workout, unless you are powerwalking in between shops and to and from a shopping area,” says Rottmann. “But cleaning a house is most definitely a workout.”

She says the best way to keep healthy during the holidays is to be vigilant about following your workout plan.

“Stick with your routine,” she says. “Whether it is going to the gym or embracing the cold and enjoying winter activities, the goal should be three to four times a week and sticking to that goal is even more important over the holidays.”