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Ester Marsh column: How do I stay fit through the holidays?

The holidays can be a scary time of the year, especially during this pandemic. It is difficult to have a “normal” schedule due to the pandemic, holiday gatherings, shopping and travel, especially since it is so different from other years. Time management is even more important during this holiday season. Any time you have more on your plate than usual, scheduling your time efficiently will help you get through the holidays fit and healthy in more ways than one.

I am not sure what your workout schedule is right now, but your chance of missing a workout through the holidays is pretty much a given. Don’t get discouraged! On the days you can’t work out, you just have to be aware of your calorie intake. If it’s because of a dinner party, you are not only missing your workout (not burning the calories you normally would), but holiday dinners pack lots of calories. Do you want to be “on a diet” through the holidays? As I mentioned last week, I don’t! Do you want to gain the average of 7-10 pounds? You might still be dealing with the COVID-19 weight gain. So how can we get through the holidays fit and healthy?

Even if you only have time for a 10-minute workout, it is worth it.

Schedule some second (maybe third) workout “back up” times each day. This way, if your first time slot didn’t work, your second (or third) time slot might save your workout. If you don’t have 30 minutes a day, three — 10-minute sessions will work too.

Join programs which will encourage healthy behavior through the holidays like Weight Watchers or any other program you feel fits you whether in-person or virtual. The Rowan Cabarrus YMCAs will most likely run another challenge to keep you moving.

Get a workout buddy, even if you don’t exercise together. Have someone who can keep you accountable. Have a reward when you stick to the plan, maybe something like a new workout outfit.

I know due to COVID-19, traveling is sparse, however when traveling stay at hotels with fitness centers or plan your stay at nearby parks. If staying with family or friends plan your workouts while you are there. Go on walks before or after dinner. Include your family and friends, of course within COVID-19 state mandates.

Enjoy this time, and look at all the positive things that are happening right now. Be aware what you put into your mouth and move as much as you can. Be thankful, I know I am!

Ester H. Marsh is health and fitness director of the JF Hurley Family YMCA.

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