You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, I’m telling you why: 5 extra pounds is coming to town — only if you allow it! No one wants to be a Scrooge, and part of the joy of the holidays revolves around food. So how are we supposed to stay extra jolly and not gain extra jiggle?
The secret to having your cake and eating it too is simple — get moving! A single indulgence won’t add pounds, but they tend to become the normal fare for months around the holidays. If you don’t counteract those extra treats with extra movement, you’ll see extra pounds. University of Georgia Extension's Walk Georgia program has created a 12-day list that will help you enjoy the season to its fullest while staying active!
12 Days of Holiday Health
- Give the gift of fitness. Do some research on spring races in your community and purchase registration for yourself and your best friend. Merry Fitness!
- Make a big red and green salad for dinner. Share it with friends on social media (and don’t forget to tag Walk Georgia). We love a spinach salad with pomegranate, pears, walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese.
- Take a long walk to forage pinecones, evergreen boughs, eucalyptus and holly berries. You can make a wreath, a festive centerpiece or fresh potpourri — simply simmer evergreen, orange peels and cloves in a pot of water; your house will smell lovely.
- Use holiday shopping as a way to burn some calories. Wear a pedometer and commit to taking 10,000 steps. You can do it!
- Treat yourself. Buy boxes of your favorite flavored teas. It’s an inexpensive indulgent treat that will keep you warm all month long, without adding an extra “layer."
- Turn up the holiday music and get dancing. You can burn up to 610 calories after an hour of dancing.
- What’s one of the best seasonal workouts? Ice-skating, of course! Find a rink and lace up those skates. Ice-skating can burn over 500 calories per hour.
- It’s not too early to make a new year’s commitment. Reflect on the upcoming New Year today. How will you move in 2015? Simply write these down, and place then on the refrigerator to get a head start.
- Did you know that regular supermarkets sell roasted chestnuts? Buy a pack to share and enjoy the health benefits, including fiber, vitamins and minerals. Plus, they are lower in fat than most nuts.
- Bundle Up! Take a WALK, instead of a drive to see the Christmas lights this year. None in your neighborhood? Scout out the best ones then drive, park and walk.
- Cookies for Santa is so passé; leave Santa some real fuel. Whole-wheat banana bread is a great substitution. Find the recipe on Walk Georgia’s blog — and don’t forget carrots for the reindeer!
- Have some fun. Play active games with your family as a part of the Christmas fun. Or plant a permanent tree. Buy a small cyprus or pine tree and help someone in the future enjoy the beauty of the holidays.
Want more fitness inspiration? Sign up for Walk Georgia’s newsletter by visiting blog.extension.uga.edu/walkgeorgia and receive healthy recipes and fitness tips. Walk Georgia is a free, online program that enables you to track and get points for moving. The website will be re-launching February 1. Walk Georgia’s mission is to inspire Georgians to move more, so that they can live more.
(Bridget Thompson is the public relations specialist for the University of Georgia's Walk Georgia program.)