If you’re headed over the river and through the woods this holiday season, you’re in very good company. Just a few years ago, AAA predicted that a whopping 91.9 million of us would travel 50 miles or more from home over the year-end holidays. That’s about 1 in 6 of us who are packing up our families, pets, gifts, and all the holiday cheer we can muster, and heading to different cities or states to love on loved ones. Talk about holiday magic – it feels great knowing that you get to take a break from work, the packing of endless weekday lunches and the scrambling to get yourself and your family ready in the mornings. And while you’re also saying a temporary sayonara to your beloved fitness studio (we’ll miss you!) what you shouldn’t leave behind is exercise as a whole. Exercising away from home is not only possible, it’s a great idea.
Although it is so tempting to use the holidays as an excuse to sit with propped feet, drinking eggnog, for an entire week, we encourage you to fit in at least a little bit of exercise in between baking sessions and board games. Not only will you feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically for doing so, but getting back in the swing of reality once home again will be much easier. For that, as a holiday gift to you, we’ve got a few easy ways that you can incorporate fitness in your holiday vacation, no matter where this season takes you.
- Guest room = temporary studio. You know those endless squats, crunches, and pushups your trainer has you do in the fitness studio? You can easily knock out a few sets in your bedroom, using your body weight as resistance. We suggest packing a yoga mat, or at least a thick towel, that you can lay on the bedroom floor for planks, pushups, sit-ups, and stretching.
- Find reasons to walk. Want to go buy the daily paper? Does Grandma need more butter for her pound cake? Head outside and pound the pavement. Exercising in the cold weather can increase your energy, burn calories faster, and even help you sleep better (cooler bodies = sounder sleep). Cold weather can actually help our mind work more sharply, as well. Just be sure to add hats and gloves to your packing list.
- Try out a new gym. Many gyms or exercise studios will offer a free 7-day trial membership – research before you leave home and see if there are any that are close to where you’ll be staying. Otherwise, piggy-back on a relative’s gym membership and get a guest pass to use. You never know – you may fall in love with your cousin’s group exercise class and discover a new way to enjoy exercising. Bonus: this can be some rare one-on-one time with a relative, as you push it through reps and cardio together.
- Propose a challenge. Round up the rowdier set and head outside for a friendly game of basketball (hey, even “HORSE” will work), touch football, soccer, or kickball. Not sure how to play? One of your nieces or nephews surely has a game they can teach you. Don’t think you’ll be very good at it? You won’t care, and neither will they. In fact, this outdoor group game just might end up being the highlight of your trip.
Holiday traveling doesn’t have to mean falling headfirst into a week of lying around eating peanut butter fudge and toffee (although, yes, that will happen too). Fitting in some exercise while on your holiday break is a great idea for so many reasons. Plus, when you come back to the studio upon your return to reality, you’ll be SO glad you did.