Seven Ways To Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Holiday Season

Fit Exercise Into Your Busy Holiday Season

The holiday season is in full swing and with it comes extra activities that can fill up your calendar and interrupt your normal exercise routine.  I’m someone that craves exercise daily because it helps me feel energized, creative, and positive.  If I take too much time off from some form of physical activity then I start to feel kind of blah.  Our bodies like to move!

Different seasons can require us to reprioritize how we are going to spend our precious time.  I believe it’s important to be flexible and to allow yourself to skip a workout during the holiday season without feeling guilty about it.  Creating beautiful memories that you can hold onto forever is just as important to your overall health and wellness as exercise. Time is something we can never get back.

If you find yourself short on time and needing to skip your normal exercise routine, here are  a few clever ways you can get your body moving during the holiday season.


Seven Easy Ways to Exercise During the Holidays

1)  Shopping.  Walking while you shop is a great way to exercise during the holidays. To get the most out of a shopping trip, try taking breaks and bringing your packages back to the car in between stores.  Shop your main streets while supporting the small businesses or take several trips walking around your local mall.

2)  Baking. Standing burns more calories than sitting, so working in the kitchen counts.  Turn on some fun music and get a little dancing in while you’re at it.

3)  Deck the halls. Hauling boxes out of storage and putting up decorations indoors and outdoors is a great way to get festive while logging your exercise minutes for the day.

4)  Cleaning.  Cleaning house counts as lifestyle exercise. Turn on some of your favorite holiday music and keep a steady pace going to maximize your caloric burn. Just don’t forget to take water breaks.

5)  Get some fresh air. Step outside and go for a walk.  Even if it’s just a short one.

Invite family and friends to join you for outdoor activities. This will help you combine family and/or social time with exercise. Don’t be afraid to go solo if you don’t have any takers. Recreation alone can be used as relaxing time you spend on your own.

6)  Take advantage of seasonal weather.  Fun in the snow isn’t just for down hill skiers. Snow shoeing, cross country skiing, walking, sledding, ice skating, and hiking, are all examples of ways you can have fun in the snow while getting your exercise.

7)  Your mother was right.  Seriously, standing up straight burns more calories than slouching. For an extra workout try keeping your stomach muscles tight while standing. Take advantage of moments like waiting in line or standing at a cocktail party to work those stomach muscles.

This holiday season I recommend you take the pressure off of yourself to “do it all” and focus on having fun and staying healthy. Shoot for 20- 30 minutes of exercise per day total. Every minute and all types of exercise counts at the end of the week. Studies have actually shown that people that took 3 ten minute walks per day showed an improvement in blood pressure because they were moving more often throughout the day.

The more you move throughout the day, the more you benefit. Do your best to take advantage of every opportunity you get to move your body. Whether it’s part of a formal exercise routine, or something like shoveling snow in your front driveway.

Here’s to a happy and healthy holiday season!

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How To Exercise Without It Feeling Like A Chore


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Want to know a simple way to stay active in your spare time — and burn extra calories without it feeling like a “chore?” It’s easy! Increase your leisure time activity!

Leisure time physical activity is generally considered any exercise, sport or recreational activity that is not job related; is not a household task; and is not fulfilling a transportation need.

Currently, the average adult in the United States spends 90% of their leisure time sitting. While that statistic sounds a bit scary, it’s very simple to stay active and not fall under the “average.”

Increasing leisure time activity not only helps you stay active — it can help you with your weight loss efforts, and can positively impact heart health and longevity.


1) Find something you like. No amount of coaxing, coaching, or fancy accountability programs will motivate you to stick to something in your leisure time that you are not interested in.

Choose activities you enjoy and that rejuvenate you. Some examples include: playing with your kids, walking your dog, hiking with friends, walking by the water, cycling,  or strolling through a botanical garden. These can all be considered leisure time activities.

2) Turn off the screen. Pay attention to how many hours you spend watching TV and/or surfing on the internet. Try turning off the screen for one day on the weekend. Use that time for physically active recreation.

Sometimes it’s difficult to unplug for a whole day. If that’s the case, decide how much time you need for your task, set a timer, and log off when you’re done. Then, go do something more physically active.

3) Exercise with purpose. Local walks/runs for charities are great leisure activities that also raise money for your favorite causes.

4) Ditch the car. Take advantage of any opportunity to leave your car parked and walk.

5) Track your progress. Step counters are a great way to measure an increase in activity. Seeing the effects of walking to the movies, throwing the ball with your kids, or taking the dog to the park will inspire you to keep it up. Whether you are athletic or not, a monitor can also motivate you to be competitive with yourself — which can lead to an increase in activity.

6) Try something new. Have a desire to try a new activity? Commit to trying it one time. Who knows? You may hit the jackpot and find something you want to keep up regularly.

Some examples would be horseback riding, a golf lesson, visiting the museum, surfing, paddle boarding, hiking in a park and having a picnic, or strolling at a mall you’ve never been to.

No matter what you choose, keep it fun. It is leisure time after all!

Here’s to staying active!
Jennifer Ledford

The Best Workout Ever!

One of the top questions I get as a personal trainer is “What’s the best workout for ______?”  My answer is always the same. The best workout is the one you will do consistently.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t specific exercises and training routines for certain goals.  For a flatter stomach I make sure I do my abdominal routine every day.

However, no matter how fantastic the program, if you’re not consistent, the odds of success are pretty slim.

There are legitimate reasons people give up on exercise routines!

1)  Boring!  Let’s face it, walking like a hamster on a wheel after a long day at the office does not sound that appealing. Most of us want to do something a bit more stimulating.

2)  Painful!  We’ve all found ourselves up late watching the guy with the chiseled stomach on the infomercial promising that if you bought the whole series you would look just like him. Eagerly you purchased the product! Now your knees and back hurt. Many of these intense workouts require foundational training that takes months or even years to establish. Heck, there is a very popular series out now that I have to modify to keep my knees safe! Signing up for exercise you are not ready for is a recipe for injury, guilt, and possibly depression!

3)  Takes too much time! Now more than ever, people are struggling to find time to exercise. The days of driving to the gym and doing an hour and a half workout seem like a fantasy to most people (except maybe retired empty-nesters).

The reality of being busy with legitimate priorities such as your spouse, children, work, home, and any other personal commitments — have eaten away at the 24 hours in the average person’s day. This leaves very little time to commit to exercise.

4)  Don’t like the surroundings! Surroundings matter! If you are someone that likes a lot of light, working out in a dark basement gym is not going to entice you. Many women feel uncomfortable in a gym setting. Or, if you are like me you prefer exercising outdoors. If you don’t like the environment that you have scheduled your workouts in, you will probably quit or it will be spotty participation at best.

5)  Lack of consistency! Whenever you start something new, you need consistency to create a strong habit. Major problem? Some of the reasons listed above can interfere with your ability to remain consistent long enough. This is a dead end — no new habit or skill needed for a long term commitment.

Oh my gosh Jennifer!  That’s Me! – How can I ever overcome these obstacles?

If you identify with any of these reasons but still have the desire to exercise, lose weight, and lead a healthy lifestyle  — I have solutions for you!

1)  Combat Boredom! You may find this hard to believe but after years of teaching aerobics classes and working in a gym, that’s the last place you will find me exercising! It is so boring for me! To combat this, I walk outside every day with my dogs.

Try attaching a task to your exercise. Walking is a great way to do this. Having a destination gives you a purpose and makes the exercise less boring. Being outdoors is always more stimulating for your brain as well.

Save the indoor exercise for days when the weather is less inviting. When exercising indoors, you can make “cardio”  machines more interesting with interval workouts. If the gym is your thing, try a class or a workout video for variety.

2)  Painful! Go see your doctor and get checked out before starting an exercise routine. She may suggest physical therapy or some strong foundational work before you start your new workout. Consider massage therapy for tight muscles. Exercise at your level — and run from any routine if the trainer says that feeling like throwing up “is normal at first”.

3)  Time!  Be realistic in setting your goals when time is an issue. If all you have is 20 minutes a day to exercise, then you don’t need a gym membership. You’ll take 20 minutes driving there!  Besides my daily walk, I do10 minutes of core work daily and a 20 minute strength training routine 2-3 times per week. This is all done in my home. You can accomplish quite a bit of effective strength training in 20 minutes!

For more detailed instructions on the time issue read  I Agree You Have No Time to Workout!

4)  Take a look around! Ask yourself if you like where you exercise — and be honest!  Most of my clients prefer exercising outdoors and in their home because they prefer that environment over the gym. Quite frankly, most people have nicer rooms in their homes for exercise.

Get creative. On nice days I take my mat, weights, and exercise ball out on the deck and do my workout. If it’s later into the evening I might even have a glass of wine while I do the exercise. That would ruffle some trainers’ feathers! For me, healthy living is all about balance.  It should make you feel better, not stressed out!

5)  Get Consistent! Ever wonder why exercise for some people is as natural as brushing their teeth? They have built “muscle” in that one particular area! Consistency is key when we are developing a new habit or skill. The more you do it the better you get. The problem is we often “bite off more than we can chew” — and that makes it hard to stay consistent.  I recommend picking one thing at a time. Walking 5-10 minutes per day is a great way to start. You may even start by taking the stairs at work every day. Once that is a habit, add a short walk at lunch 2-3 times per week.

The answer to “what’s the best workout?” is simple. The best exercise for you personally is whatever you can do consistently. Whether it’s your daily walk, a 20 minute strength routine, 15 minutes on the stationary bike, or gardening every day. You will benefit much more from consistent physical activity than sporadic sophisticated workouts.

Have a question for me or want to share your best workout! Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear your thoughts!