Thanksgiving is this week! For the rest of the year we will be busy with shopping, parties, family get togethers, and food. Lots of food. Exercise is usually the first thing to get cut when things get hectic, but this time of year is when it is especially important to keep fitness in your schedule. Workouts will help you cope with the stress and excess food that comes with the season. Plus, it will help keep your immune system strong. Who wants to be sick during the Holidays? No excuses to skip a workout when you need it now more than any other time of year! Here are five tips to keep moving this Holiday Season.
1. Make it a priority. Instead of canceling your normal workout class after work to do some holiday prep, what else can you reduce so you can keep that workout in the schedule? Maybe cut back on an hour of a Netflix binge or social media time to go pick up some gifts instead of skipping that group class. Write out your schedule and look for windows of time for all you have to do. I bet you can find some time besides when you usually workout to do what you need to do.
2. Add a walk after your meal. Walking after you eat aids in digestion and helps reduce any potential bloating. Make it a family event and bring everyone out to walk after dinner.
3. Sign up for a race. There are so many fun Holiday themed races. Plan and train to run or walk a Thanksgiving or other Holiday race. It will be a fun atmosphere and sometimes raises money for a great cause. They even have races where you wear ugly Christmas sweaters or Santa Hats!
4. Traveling? No excuse! Traveling is the perfect time to check out new workouts and fitness centers! I love checking out the fitness centers in hotels. I recently stayed at The Doubletree in downtown South Bend and was blown away by their fitness room (that's just part of it in the picture above)! It was by far the best I've seen in a hotel in our area. Two huge rooms - one with cardio equipment and one with weight machines and free weights. I want to get every penny's worth from a hotel stay and love to take advantage of everything they offer.
If you are staying with family or friends, see if they have a place they currently workout and if they would take you. Many gyms and studios let members bring a guest for free. A great opportunity to try a new workout you might not have at home or just haven't done before.
Another way to exercise while traveling is to walk to jog in the area. It's a great way to see somewhere you aren't as familiar with. As a jogger myself, I love running in new places (especially when a beach is involved). It makes your workout more interesting and fun plus you get to see sights you might have otherwise missed.
5. Embrace short workouts. If you truly feel you don't have time to get in a workout class, dvd or a trip to the gym, don't forget that any movement adds up. Find a short circuit workout to do at home. Many don't require any equipment. I even have some here on my blog you can do in just a few minutes. Make sure you are getting plenty of movement in each day. Walk farther away from the store. Do squats and jumping jacks while you prepare dinner or watch tv, you get the idea, just get moving whenever you can!
I made some healthier cookies to take on our hike over the weekend. They look like no bake cookies but they are actually baked and much better for you. I adapted a recipe I found on Pinterest that credited Everyday Health but I can't find it on their site.
These cookies only contain the natural sugar coming from the bananas and applesauce. I chose to use natural peanut butter with no sugar, salt or anything added. I also used cacao powder instead of cocoa powder. Did you know that chocolate isn't sweet in it's natural form? It only gets that sweet taste after sugar, dairy and/or other ingredients are added. Cacao is chocolate in it's most raw form (it's called Cocoa after it has been dried, roasted and processed). Cacao gives you all of the antioxidants, nutrients and other benefits of chocolate without the calories, fat or sugar. It has a rich chocolate flavor but is not sweet. If you want traditionally sweet cookies, use regular cocoa powder. I was happy with the healthier, less sweet, cookie using the cacao powder.
Healthier Baked NoBakes
3 ripe bananas (mashed)
2 cups oats
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup cacao or cocoa powder
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mash bananas then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Let sit for 20 minutes then drop by teaspoonful onto uncreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes.