Well, it’s Friday, December 22nd 2017, and in just 3 days it will be Christmas.  Beginning with this weekend, the next 2-3 weeks will probably flash by with a blur for many people. If you think about it, we’re just getting into the roller-coaster ride of giving and receiving presents, visiting friends and family, not to mention the various parties that will be taking place between now and after New Year’s Eve.  It’s no surprise that many of us see our waistlines expand during the holiday season. Even the most disciplined people can find it difficult to stick to their health and fitness routines.

It’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle and bustle, but anyone who enjoys going for a morning or in the evening in warmer weather, a run you know how calming doing so can make you feel.

Now for a lot of people this time of year might have them leaving their running gear in the back of the closet. But that needn’t be. If you want to keep a little normalcy in your holiday activities you can do it with a little planning.

Keep moving: In addition to staying active, try to avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time, such as when everyone gathers on the couch to watch the football games or sitting around table eating, instead of pushing back that chair and helping clear up some dirty dishes. Remember, too much sitting is hazardous to your health. Research shows that getting up for just five minutes every 30 to 60 minutes and performing light activity (say, pacing around the house or performing simple squat exercises) reduces the risk of diabetes and other heart disease risk factors.  And this is nothing new, but for some reason, most of us need to be reminded of it again, and again, and again!  One way I’ve found that it’s easy to be reminded that I needed to get off my but and get moving again is by using a daily activity watch like the Garmin Vivofit 3 Activity Tracker  Vívofit3 activity tracker with Garmin Move IQ™ automatic activity detection will make your life easier with telling you when it’s time to get up and be active with a “Move Bar” that will alert you when it’s time to get moving.

Be the Woman with a plan. And hydrate! The holidays can be a real land mine in terms of disrupting your best exercise and weight-control intentions. Start each day with a game plan, just like a coach going into a big game, track your food intake and activity level. Doing so makes you aware of the amount of calories you’re taking in on a daily basis. Even if you decide to eat higher-calorie options, you will probably eat smaller portions and make other adjustments to stay within your daily caloric goals.

Also, stay hydrated. Your brain can sometimes confuse thirst with hunger. A large glass of water before a meal (and especially before considering seconds) can help lessen the amount of food you consume. Drink six to eight glasses of water per day, and be sure to have two big glasses of water before the big, calorie-rich meal!

Plan, Plan & Sleep: The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year, but I recognize that it has the potential to be stressful and can easily make me feel sorry for over-indulging and not being consistent with getting my exercise in. To alleviate the potential negative impacts of the season, I recommend making sure workouts are in the morning so you don’t get distracted later in the day by parties, events or other holiday hoopla. I also recommend getting plenty of rest and maintaining lists to stay organized and stress-free.  It’s also a proven fact that people who exercise in the morning have a much better outlook for the rest of the day. They already have a feel of accomplishment, since they can check off fitting in their exercise routines.  And don’t forget those endorphins that start pumping through your system, just might make an unexpected assigned project or secret Santa party a bit easier to cope with!  While getting the proper amount of sleep is also very important to a productive day. Sleep is often neglected in favor of getting more done, which almost always backfires. When you’re sleep-deprived, you’re less productive, more irritable, and you often have too little energy for healthy eating and exercise that day.  And that is no way to go into the holiday season. Your only setting yourself up for physical crash, usually just when you least need it to happen.  Sleep is the time when your body recuperates and rebuilds from the day’s stress. Imagine how much happier and healthier you could be with an additional 60 to 90 minutes of sleep each night.  Again, this all goes back to planning your day, your commitments and not over-scheduling those commitments so while you may get them done, you’re in a worse state of mind then if you made your apologizes and got to bed a bit earlier.

So you see, there are multiple ways for you to keep your activity levels up while you also help yourself alleviate some of the stress that most everyone seems to feel at this time of year. So instead of feeling anxious, practice some of the above recommendations and take time out to get out there and do some running while you’re still enjoying the holiday season with friends and family!