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Holiday Workouts in a Flash

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Holiday Workouts in a Flash

When it comes to sticking to an exercise routine, many people have it down to a science. However, when the holiday season rolls around at the end of the year, even some of the most dedicated exercisers can find their time being used for other activities, including visiting with family and friends who might be unavailable the rest of the year. “The problem is we associate this ‘time’ with food and sedentary activities,” says Melissa Stansell, Cooper Fitness Center Professional Fitness Trainer. “We need to re-train our brains to associate movement and activity with some of the most enjoyable quality time spent with loved ones.”

It can be difficult to squeeze in time at the gym when bouncing from holiday parties to family dinners and shopping excursions. Fitting in a specific amount of time to focus on ourselves sounds easy, but it is a tough commitment for many people. Try to motivate yourself by simply getting out of the house, notes Stansell. “When you get outside and breathe fresh air, doing something as simple as throwing a football or taking a walk can feel so refreshing that you’ll crave more.”

If you know you won’t be able to make it to the gym, try developing new family traditions that include physical activity, such as walking around the neighborhood to see Christmas lights instead of driving. When family visits, have an outdoor area available where kids can run around – this will often bring the adults out of the house to join in the fun. Fun runs and walks are also an activity that families can do together.

Stansell explains that you can fit a great workout in even if you only have ten minutes at a time. “An uninterrupted workout for 30-60 minutes is effective, but SOME exercise is always better than none!” If you do find time to swing by the gym, try getting in and out as quickly as possible while maximizing your workout time. Pre-planning can be key when it comes to executing a workout in this situation. “Write down four or five exercises you know you want to do for the day, and be ready to hit the deck hard when you come in,” says Stansell. “Stay focused and accomplish what you set out to get done that day. If you write it down, it is much more likely to happen.” 

However, even if you’re short on time, it is still important to warm up before moving in to an intense strength or cardio program. Similarly, it is equally important to allow your body time to let your heart rate fall after exercising. Stretching and mobility exercises will help keep your body moving efficiently and will prevent injury in the future.

For a quick workout that can be done at the gym or even at home, Stansell notes that performing three or four exercises in a circuit form can be highly effective. Try doing squats, push-ups, hip bridges or body weight rows; 10 reps of each for two or three rounds. If you’re traveling and have limited access to a gym or outdoor area for your workout, don’t be discouraged. “Your body is your machine,” says Stansell. “You can get a fantastic workout just by using your own body weight. Play around with a circuit, add a cardio interval or adjust reps to fit your needs. The most important thing is to work hard and efficiently, but make the workout enjoyable enough so you’ll want to come back and do it again!”

For more information about professional training at Cooper Fitness Center, visit or call 972.233.4832. 

Article provided by Cooper Aerobics Marketing and Communications.