Weatherford Democrat

December 22, 2013

EXTENSION NEWS: Tips for staying active during the holidays and winter


Weatherford Democrat

— By KATHY SMITH

We typically eat more and exercise less during the holidays and when it is cold. If we get too much out of balance with our food intake and our activity output, we may be adding too much to our holiday cheer!

To help prevent our Christmas and New Year season from expanding at the waist and thighs, here are some tips to fit in some physical activity.

• As much as you can, wear running or comfortable walking shoes so you can get moving whenever there is an opportunity. Put a casserole in the oven and head out the door for a walk or jog while it is baking. Park farther away and walk to your destination. Walk the shopping center or store, before you shop. Several laps in several large stores can equal a mile.

• When there is an opportunity, take the stairs. In one minute, a 150 pound person burns approximately 10 calories walking upstairs and only 1.5 calories riding an elevator according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Here is a quote by Joan Welch, “A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time – pills or stairs.”

• Work out with your mobile device. Download an app or video for your phone or watch an online video that will help you get moving. Some of these may be especially helpful when you are traveling and staying in a hotel or with friends. Use your favorite search engine or check with the app store for you mobile device to find apps and videos that you like.

• Find trails and tracks before you travel. You can visit the USA Track and Field website at www.usatf.org/routes for routes for walking or running in your destination city. Check with your hotel as to their safety.

• Try some tempting tunes. If you like to work out with music, gift yourself with some new tunes to get you motivated. For example, searching for holiday fitness music or Christmas fitness music in the” iTunes store or Android market” can help you find some tunes to keep you motivated. A similar search on the ‘MP3 Music” category on Amazon.com can help you locate several tunes.

• Clean your house. Set aside several hours one day and REALLY clean your house. Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing while folding and putting away laundry, etc. all burns calories. Get workouts the old-fashioned way, by “working” out.

• Look for a special fun run or race. Fun runs are held just about every weekend. They usually charge a fee and are open to everyone from runners to people who want to stroll along the trail. Invite your friends and plan to participant. You will feel better physically and mentally for it.

• Build activity into family visits and outings. Encourage house guests to bring workout clothes suitable for walking or perhaps activities at a local health club.

• Fly with wheels or a backpack. If you are flying during this time of year, use the time between flights to get into some activity. If time allows, walk to a faraway gate vs. taking a “people mover.” Walk vs. wait at your gate until you can board your flight. If you are lugging carryon luggage, make it easier and more comfortable to move by using a wheeled suitcase or a backpack.

Sources: Center for Disease Control and Nebraska State Extension Service.