We typically eat more and exercise less during the holidays. If we get too much out of balance with our food intake and our activity output, we may literally be ‘bursting’ with holiday cheer!  To help prevent our winter holiday season from coming ‘apart at the seams,’ here are some tips to fit in some physical activity.

• It’s a ‘shoe-in.”  As much as you can, wear running or comfortable walking shoes so you can get moving whenever there is an opportunity.  Pop a casserole in the oven and head out the door for a walk while it’s baking.  Park farther away and walk to your destination.

• Take the stairs.  “In one minute, a 150 pound person burns approximately 10 calories walking upstairs and only 1.5 calories riding an elevator,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  A quote by Joan Welsch will help us decide to take the stairs: “A man’s health can be judged by which he takes two at a time—pills or stairs.”

• Work out with your mobile device.  Download an app(s) or video(s) for your mobile device or watch an online video that will help you get moving.  Some of these may be especially helpful when you are traveling and staying in a hotel or with friends.  Avoid workouts with lots of noisy activity that can bring management to your hotel door.    

For starters, check out a 10-minute You Tube video from Kayla Cologrove, a Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer, and former All-American athlete at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  This set of exercises will help get your heart rate up and works various muscle groups.  Watch it on your mobile device our TV at:


• Try some tempting tunes.  If you like to work out to music, ‘gift’ yourself with some new tunes to get motivated.  

• Clean your house.  Set aside several hours one day and REALLY clean your house.  Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing while folding and putting away laundry, etc. all burn calories.  Get workouts the old-fashioned way . . . by ‘working’ out!

• Build activity into family visits and outings.  Encourage house guests to bring workout clothes suitable for walking or activities at a local health club.

• Fly with wheels (or a backpack).  If you are flying during the holidays, use the time between flights to get in some activity6.  If time allows, walk to your gate vs. taking a ‘people mover.’  Walk vs. wait at your gate until you can board your flight.  Make your walking easier and more comfortable by using a wheeled suitcase or a backpack.

So, let’s move as much as we can during the holiday season.  Everyone will feel better and be ‘happier!’

Rita Hodges is the Ellis  County Extension Agent-Family & Consumer Sciences. Contact Rita at  972-825-5175 or rmhodges@ag.tamu.edu