Fitness & Wellness with Caribbean music and food

Exercise during the Holidays

There are 5 days until Christmas and 12 days until New Years, however at SocaMotion we are doing all that we can to remind people that extending the festivities beyond those special days can sabotage progress made in past exercise and diet changes.

The cold weather and increased offerings of baked goodies and homemade favorites are a lethal combination for those trying to maintain or lose weight.     This weather has an increased effect on those who come from tropical regions and yearn to return “home” even more.   If you succumb to these temptations there are many who are waiting for you to want to make good on your new year’s resolutions and join their fitness programs.   However, there are ways to hedge against this trend and maintain your current weight or even lose a little weight over the next 2 weeks.

Yes, you can achieve results even during the holidays.

The two main ways that you can do that are by:

1. Sneaking in exercise during the small windows of spare time during your day, and

2. Balancing indulgence with restraint in your diet.

I can just imagine how busy and stressed you are right now.  You may still have holiday shopping to do or are planning for your New Year’s celebrations.  Maybe the increased family time is not exactly calming your nerves.   Increased stress also has an effect on your weight through the action of cortisol on your metabolism.   If you take a step back, you will probably find that you do have a 5-minute interval hear or there or even a rare extra 30 minutes to insert some activity and increase your calorie burn with minimal effort.

When you find that time, try these activities to maximize your results:

1. Find some wining time ~ SocaMovers who have come to our classes for the past 2 seasons have learned at least 10 ways to wind to burn some calories and strengthen muscles all around your waist.    You can do just 5-15 minutes of your favorite moves by turning on your favorite soca playlist and repeating the moves until 2-5 songs are over.

2. Take the stairs ~ You can really raise your heart rate and burn extra calories by committing to take the stairs each time you have the opportunity at home, work, and even on the subway.

3. Wave it! ~ SocaFlags classes have taught SocaMovers how to turn a colorful rag into “gym equipment.” Try it at home.  Take any rag you can find and wave it around in different combinations of up-down and all-around movements to tone your arms and shoulders.

4. Think Flashdance! ~ If you have 15 minutes start chipping. Chipping is an efficient way of walking by dragging your feet slightly.  Then progress to walking, then raising your knees to your chest (known as the “Road March”) and then jumping with your knees high in the air.  Finish your set with a full-body shake and let yourself go!  Go through some interval training by doing 3 sets of 5 minutes from easy chipping up to jumping and you’ve just taken around 100 calories off the table.  Have more time?  Keep it moving!

5. Get on the floor! ~ Where? Anywhere! In your bedroom, living room, anywhere you can find. You don’t need a gym, you just need enough room to spread out and be comfortable.    Now, do a combination of your favorite belly-burning moves for just 5 minutes a day. If you do that everyday it’s equivalent of a half-hour ab session and you barely flinched.  If you don’t want to mark the clock, just turn on your favorite 5-minute tune and let the musicians keep time for you.

Get it in where it fits in, and remember the holidays are just one day a piece.   There’s no need to lose 2 weeks of progress to those short spurts of fun.

How do you balance your diet so that you don’t lose momentum?

The best way is to pick at least one meal that you will keep green.   Maybe your lunch is the time when you have the most control over your diet and less opportunities to indulge at holiday parties or family gatherings.  Use this time to pack in some lean salads with minimal dressing or accessories like croutons or a side of bread.  Eat some clear soups or vegetarian soups such as dhal, lentil soup, vegetarian chili or minestrone.    Save calories by drinking plain water or coconut water and try to keep your drink calories below 70 per drink.  Maximize your nutrients with a colorful spread of vegetables and maybe add some curry powder or jerk seasoning to pump up the flavor without adding too many calories.

You still have a lot of time to maintain progress for your goals.   You know what to do….

Keep it moving like the ocean!


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