Quantcast

5 Best Ways to Get in Your Exercise While You Travel for the Holidays

Health + Wellness

During the next two weeks, it's estimated that a record 116 million people in the U.S. will travel for the holidays.


For some, it's a festive homecoming. For others, it's a source of familial tension.

But one nearly universal part of the experience is not enough exercise and too many calories.

"All year round, we have pressure from media and society to 'look good' and everybody wants to lose those last five to 10 pounds," Sharon Zarabi, RD, CDN, CPT, bariatric program director at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, told Healthline. "And what typically happens during the Thanksgiving-to-New Year's time frame is that we actually, on average, gain five pounds."

It can be a challenge to keep up your usual exercise routine when you don't have access to your local gym or personal exercise equipment.

But with a little bit of ingenuity, it is possible to fit an exercise routine into the busy holiday season.

Walk or Run

For those who don't have access to a cardio machine over the holidays, the solution is straightforward.

Do your cardio routine the old-fashioned way and go outside for a walk or run.

"If you're traveling somewhere where it's warm and you can go outside to walk or jog or anything like that, it's a nice option," D.R. Ebner, PT, SCS, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told Healthline.

Even if it's chilly outside, bundling up and going for a brisk stroll is a good way to walk off that rich Christmas dinner and take in the lights while shedding some calories in the process.

A 20-minute walk can cover about a mile, which can burn off about 100 calories, depending on a person's sex and weight.

Resistance Bands

It's tough to take a weight training routine on the road.

It just isn't practical to pack bulky, heavy dumbbells into your luggage and there's no guarantee that your holiday destination will have alternatives.

Resistance bands may not be able to provide the same heavy lifting workout as dumbbells, but they do offer something similar in a lightweight form that can fit into the palm of your hand.

"The easiest thing that anyone can do, as most research has shown, is resistance training, which helps increase metabolic rate," said Zarabi. "It doesn't mean you need to go to a gym and use a machine or lift dumbbells. Resistance bands, which are easily portable, are something you can throw in your luggage. They come in different colors for different intensity levels."

Create a Stop-Gap Program

Anyone who has a daily fitness routine knows that traveling can throw things into chaos.

Rather than struggling to replicate your current program, or haphazardly fit workouts into your day, Ebner says it's helpful to establish a new routine for the days you're away from home.

This might entail doing exercises you don't usually do or adapting to your surroundings.

"You may not have a ton of space," he said. "But you can do workouts like pushups, jumping jacks, and situps."

"You can do, for instance, 10 pushups, and then some bodyweight squats and some lunges," Ebner noted. "You can repeat that two or three times and commit 10 or 15 minutes to it. Work hard, but keep it sustainable."

Look Online

To add to his point of adapting to different surroundings, Ebner suggests going online to look for inspiration.

"On YouTube, there are all kinds of workout videos — anything from yoga to calisthenics," he said.

"If you're trying to fit an exercise in and you're not sure what to do, you can find guided routines where it's all spelled out for you and you can follow along," he added. "You don't have to overthink it."

Don’t Sweat It

Even if there's enough space and equipment to work out, sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day when you factor in the social commitments of the holiday season.

Zarabi says it's good to approach the season with a goal not of losing weight, but maintaining your current weight.

This strategy even allows for some indulgences, provided they're reasonable.

"I always like to enforce the 80/20 rule: be good 80 percent of the time and enjoy the desserts and holiday treats 20 percent of the time," she explained. "Indulging on Christmas Day or at holiday parties is not enough to derail you from your lifestyle. It's the accumulation of what you do over the long term that really impacts your weight loss efforts."

Following the indulgent, or over-indulgent festive season, many of us make New Year's resolutions in an effort to improve things moving forward.

Instead of setting lofty goals for the new year, Zarabi suggests a more measured approach.

"If your resolution is better health, don't make it about the number on the scale," she said. "A lot of us judge ourselves by a size or weight, disregarding the fact that we can fluctuate 5 to 7 pounds after a dinner party. It's best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning at a dry weight and try not to obsess over the marker."

"I think that people need to be a little more forgiving of themselves and just get back to the basics the next day, instead of waiting for the magic to happen on New Year's Day," she added.

Reposted with permission from Healthline. For detailed source information, please view the original article on Healthline.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

We need our government to do everything it can to stop PFAS contamination and exposure from wreaking havoc in communities across the country. LuAnn Hun / Unsplash

By Genna Reed

The EPA announced last week that it is issuing a preliminary regulatory determination for public comment to set an enforceable drinking water standard to two of the most common and well-studied PFAS, PFOA and PFOS.

This decision is based on three criteria:

  1. PFOA and PFOS have an adverse effect on public health
  2. PFOA and PFOS occur in drinking water often enough and at levels of public health concern;
  3. regulation of PFOA and PFOS is a meaningful opportunity for reducing the health risk to those served by public water systems.
Read More
Charging EVs in Stockholm: But where does a dead battery go? Ranjithsiji / Wikimedia Commons

By Kieran Cooke

Driving an electric-powered vehicle (EV) rather than one reliant on fossil fuels is a key way to tackle climate change and improve air quality — but it does leave the old batteries behind as a nasty residue.

Read More
Sponsored
U.S. Secretary of the Treasure Steven Mnuchin arrives for a welcome dinner at the Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Feb. 22, 2020 during the G20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting. FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP via Getty Images

Finance ministers from the 20 largest economies agreed to add a scant mention of the climate crisis in its final communiqué in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, but they stopped short of calling it a major economic risk, as Reuters reported. It was the first time the G20 has mentioned the climate crisis in its final communiqué since Donald Trump became president in 2017.

Read More
Aerial view of Parque da Cachoeira, which suffered the January 2019 dam collapse, in Brumadinho, state of Minas Gerais, Brazil — one of the country's worst industrial accidents that left 270 people dead. Millions of tons of toxic mining waste engulfed houses, farms and waterways, devastating the mineral-rich region. DOUGLAS MAGNO / AFP / Getty Images

By Christopher Sergeant, Julian D. Olden

Scars from large mining operations are permanently etched across the landscapes of the world. The environmental damage and human health hazards that these activities create may be both severe and irreversible.

Read More
Participants of the climate demonstration Fridays for Future walk through Hamburg, Germany on Feb. 21, 2020. Axel Heimken / picture alliance via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

U.S.-based youth climate activists on Friday drew attention to the climate protest in Hamburg, Germany, where organizers said roughly 60,000 people took part, and hoped that Americans took inspiration from their European counterparts.

Read More