The “12 Days of Christmas” is one of the most popular songs you find yourself singing on repeat every December, and this year, you can take that jingle and turn it into something good for your health and fitness.
We’re challenging you to follow this healthy habits to-do list with one new habit each day and beyond.
Ready, set, go.
Day 1 — Go for a 1-mile jog or walk before work to get your blood pumping and get some fresh air as well. If it’s too cold outdoors, hit the indoor track at the gym, an indoor mall or even the treadmill.
Day 2 — During the day, call two good friends to catch up and tell them how much their friendship means to you. It will make them feel good and make you feel great. Connection and human relationships are very important a wellness journey, and the holidays are the perfect time to reconnect.
Day 3 — Eat three balanced meals, featuring healthy carbs, lean protein and essential fats, with the majority of the plate being veggies, to fill yourself up with lots of antioxidants and nutrients. When you fill up on quality food, you’re less likely to find yourself digging into the holiday cookies in the afternoon.
Day 4 — Sit down, grab a pen and paper and spend four minutes writing down all of the things in your life that you are grateful for. Share this list with someone close to you and revisit it several times a week to help you gain some perspective and keep a positive outlook on your life.
Day 5 — Start your morning with five minutes of meditating to clear your head and set the tone for a good day. You can use the Headspace app if you need some guidance on how to meditate and begin a mindfulness practice. The benefits can be far reaching — including giving you more productivity, more kindness, more creativity and more patience throughout the rest of your day. (https://www.headspace.com/headspace-meditation-app)
Day 6 — Make a date to meet a friend for something active at either 6 a.m. or 6 p.m. It could be a walk, a game of, a bike ride or even ice skating. Getting moving with friends, rather than just always meeting for drinks or a meal, is an awesome way to stay healthy, be social and feel really good about your choices.
Day 7 — Finish your healthy dinner by 7 p.m., close down the kitchen and sip on water and herbal tea until you go to bed, then don’t eat your breakfast the next morning until at least 7 a.m., so you give your body a 12-hour window to reset and recharge before you have to metabolize your next meal. You’ll feel slimmer, lighter and more in touch with your hunger signals.
Day 8 — Drink at least eight 16-ounce glasses of water (or more) throughout the day to be properly hydrated — you’ll see the benefits in your skin, energy levels and digestion too.
Day 9 — Turn off your phone, computer and TV by 9 p.m. and curl up in your warm and comfy bed with a good hardbound book (not digital), to ease into a restful night of sleep. Quality sleep helps to reset your body, metabolism, brain and hormones, and you need to prioritize your sleep even during the busy holiday season.
Day 10 — Start the day with 10 minutes of yoga flow stretching to wake up your muscles and get your blood flowing, as well as to improve your mood. Not sure what to do? Try this 10-minute yoga flow video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvN_KRcweL0).
Day 11 — Do 11 push-ups, 11 squats and 11 jumping jacks before you head out for the day, to get a little strength, sweat and mobility flowing. Even just a short session of movement can produce enough endorphins to keep you riding high on your healthy tone for the rest of the day.
Day 12 — Call your Fitness Together trainer and make a plan for your regular weekly sessions for the next 12 weeks to stay on track with your fitness progress throughout the holidays and beyond. (https://fitnesstogether.com/)
Enjoy your holiday season and enjoy your new healthy habits!
Photo: Chad Madden