It’s that time of year. Time for your holiday workout routine. Again, and already, somehow the Yuletide season is upon us once more, and there’s a grab bag brimming with extra work for you to do to prepare for the big day. So join me for this fun breakdown of the “exercise” involved with the festivities, and the proper form to assume while doing it.
The starting point is obvious. At the mall. Wish lists in hand, many of us will choose to forego online shopping since you can’t beat the atmosphere—or people energy—offered at our local shopping centers. Where lights, decorations, and high spirits abound, not to mention the opportunity for the kiddies to perch on St. Nick’s lap. You have to be in good shape to hit the mall, though, because the mall hits back. More than the wallet, battling traffic and driving in circles looking for that elusive parking space isn’t for the faint-hearted, and neither is traversing multi-decker shops and toting those perfect presents home. It requires limber limbs to ensure that backs aren’t thrown out, arms aren’t strained, and Ugg-booted feet can clock the miles.
Did I say Ugg-booted feet? Scratch that—better to wear a pair of supportive walking shoes to keep your toes and arches happy—ready to sprint for the last must-have technical gadget, video game, or kitsch Christmas sweater. Consider, too, stretching before hitting the stores, remembering to hold each stretch at least 30 seconds to enable the sensory organs within your muscles to override the natural tendency to snap back to original length.
For this next activity, wrapping gifts, the best way to keep your overtaxed fingers from cramping to Grinch-like claws is to pick up a hand-grip strengthener or squeeze a ball. Not a Christmas ball, for Santa’s sake—a stress relief ball, found in any sporting goods store, along with the aforementioned hand strengthener. Not only will these simple exercises keep those pretty bows recognizable as bows, but they’ll also combat the carpel tunnel syndrome tying them can bring on. Remember to bend at the knee when hefting cumbersome boxes, too, and press them to the body between chest and waist. Don’t need to break the bank and your back!
Ahh. If only those complicated toys came with instructions instead of just diagrams, the act of assembling multi-faceted fun wouldn’t be as tiresome as running a marathon—and require equi-time to complete. In this instance, a bit of calming music, and mantra of choice is your best defense against frayed nerves and blue-printed brain. (it’s a syndrome! look it up!) Personally, I find melodies pitched in the 432Hz zone to be the most conducive to saint-like composure, since this frequency is in line with the natural pitch of the Universe. Fa-la-la, you say? A fine mantra to mutter as you tackle tabs A. B, and 13…
Where to place all this fancy booty? Under a tree, of course, and whether you chop one down or shop one down, you’ll have to wrangle that Tannenbaum into the family room. Key word being family, the seasonally savvy will know this is a fine time to recruit those nearest and dearest to help with the task. Put a Tom Sawyer spin on the joys of sprucing up the place, and you’ll have plenty of time to tackle the trimming of your home’s exterior.
From the eaves to the rooftop—click-click-click—you’ll want to test your twinkle lights before stringing them from ladders on high, and make sure to do an extra set of core exercises to maximize your stability on those rickety rungs. Blowing up the Noel-themed floaties for the front yard is almost as good as training in high-altitude in terms of improving lung function, while the artful arrangement of Nativity scenes or reindeer and sleigh is weight work that engages the whole body.
With so much to do, you might be tempted to buy bakery goods to leave for the fat fellow dropping by Christmas Eve. It isn’t as if he RSVP’d, but nevertheless. If you bake your own Christmas treats, you’re able to control the amount of sugar finding its way into these…ahh…stevia cookies? You don’t have to go that far, but do consider swapping honey for refined, applesauce for butter, and raisins for chocolate when you’re able. A scarcely detectable way to lighten the caloric impact of your Xmas goodies, you’ll reduce the number of hours you spend in the gym in January, too.
I suppose that wraps it up. Your holiday workout routine. True some of us will be going on ski trips to stay tone this year, and some will be going over the river and through the woods to Grandma’s, but for those hanging around the homestead, my final bit of advice is to hang the stockings with care—and hang a sprig of mistletoe, while you’re at it. You can burn as many as 2 calories a minute bussing your beau, and I don’t know about you, but I think that’s the nicest expression of good will toward men there is.
Happy Holidays, everyone!
Have anything to add about your holiday workout routine? Comment below!
BIO: Based in Santa Barbara, CA, Karen Robiscoe is a certified Corrective Exercise Specialist and personal trainer through NASM. DBA Kardio with Karen, she is additionally certified as a Group X instructor and Spin teacher with Fitour, a licensed Livestrong Cancer Survivors instructor by YMCA, and a fully accredited Aquatics teacher with AEA.
Still more fun with fitness! Click: Armchair Warrior