As things cool down and the pumpkin spice lattes start coming out, it can be tempting to let your workout routine slide. Problem is, once you begin to justify missing one or two workouts, it is far easier to just not exercise during the holiday season.
To make sure that you stick to your workout routine, you need to stay motivated. Here are six reasons to work out during the holidays.
Stave Off Holiday Bloat And Weight Gain
Weight gain during the holidays is a constant boogeyman, and people usually bring it up just as you are about to enjoy a delicious holiday treat. But in reality, research has shown that the average holiday weight gain is only 0.81 lbs (0.37 kg). That’s not exactly an earth-shaking amount of weight gain. But, if the trend of slowly gaining weight isn’t halted, it can quickly get out of control.
By sticking to your workout routine over the holidays, you can easily keep off even the slightest weight gain by the holidays. That way, you won’t be battling an extra 10-15 lbs once spring returns.
Now, holiday bloating is a real issue and one that is far more likely to cause you problems during the holidays. Since it is common to indulge in high-fat foods, more carbs, and other bloat-causing foods during the holidays, it wouldn’t take much to make your clothes fit uncomfortably.
But, by exercising regularly, you can encourage your body to process the excessive indulgence and not punish you so harshly for enjoying yourself.
Workouts Remind You To Hydrate Properly
During the holidays, it can be easy to forget that while you have been drinking plenty of things—from seasonal lattes to alcohol at holiday parties—you may not have been drinking as much water as you usually do.
This lack of water can leave you feeling a bit more sluggish and reliant on caffeinated drinks. It could be damaging your skin and internal organs, too.
Also, like I once discovered during a run, it is possible to sweat and smell what you have been drinking if you haven’t drunk enough water. It only takes smelling eggnog-sweat to really drive it home that water is what you need.
So, while others are looking tired and nursing prolonged headaches, by working out regularly, you will be reminded to stay properly hydrated with water.
See Also: Top 5 Tips On How To Stay Hydrated
Regular Exercise Can Reduce Holiday-Related Stress
Let’s face it—while the holidays are full of glitter and magic for children, for most adults, there is a lot of stress connected to the holidays. Adults have to plan to meet up with family, friends or both. They need to balance work responsibilities along with other obligations.
As a father, I have the extra work of helping with costumes, driving kids to and from holiday parties, and earning extra for those special Christmas gifts.
No matter your obligations during the holiday, it is essential that you carve out some dedicated time for your workouts. Just as exercising helps with stress during the rest of the year, it doesn’t make sense to give up your stress outlet during the holiday season when you are far likelier to become stressed out.
Allows For Something Other Than Overindulging
A lot of holiday celebrations revolve around overindulging in food and generally just being more sedentary than usual. This holiday-induced gluttony can be even worse when you travel to spend the holiday with family or play host to a family that traveled to reach you.
The abrupt change from an active, busy lifestyle to an indulgent one can be stressful. It can make it difficult to deal with the excess energy you have when you skip a workout.
Also, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Too much food, enforced together time, and too little personal time can be incredibly stressful. Rather than marinate in overindulgence, you should carve out time for your workouts.
By sticking to your regular exercise schedule, you can give yourself a good reason to take some personal time. After hosting a house full of relatives, I love escaping to the quiet of my gym. I lift for an hour or layer up and go on a run. By taking a break from all the food and noise, it can be easier to come back and engage with family and friends.
Avoid Losing Workout Gains
While you won’t lose your exercise gains because you missed one or two workouts, if you start skipping out on your workouts regularly during the holidays, you could face significant losses.
When it comes to your cardiovascular fitness, researchers found that both VO2 max and anaerobic threshold of their participants dropped significantly with just 6 weeks of not training. By 9 weeks, the decline in those two metrics continued to plummet.
If you prefer strength training, you also could face a loss in gains, even faster than an endurance athlete. According to another study, the participants could miss up to 3 weeks of training, but by the 4th week, strength levels decayed.
You don’t want to give up your hard work and have to backtrack once the holidays are over. Even if you have to miss one or two of your workouts, do your best to stick to your overall routine so that you don’t lose your exercise gains.
Helps To Prevent Seasonal Depression
Lastly, sticking with your workout routine throughout the holiday season can help fend off seasonal depression. The “holiday blues”, as they are called sometimes, can significantly impact your enjoyment of the holidays with your family and friends. Also, if you are prone to depression already, then it is doubly important that you stick to exercising regularly.
With the natural mood regulation benefits that come with exercise, you can help even out the low points during the holidays. That way, you can have more real enjoyment, rather than feeling like you have to put on a happy face at the next holiday party you attend to.
So, rather than struggle with the side effects of missing your workout routine through the holiday season, be sure to recommit yourself to your routine. Stay flexible so that you can make time for your exercise needs. These top reasons to work out during the holidays can help you stay motivated.