With December underway, stores and long lines will likely be in your future. Even if you saved a bundle in the wee morning hours of Black Friday (the unofficial kickoff of the holiday shopping season), last minute gifts, holiday food shopping, and possibly a wine run to make the holidays a tad less stressful (hey, we don’t judge!) are still in store for you.
Why is that, you ask? Because the holidays are all about doing for others–or should be, anyway. But just because you’re giving and getting for family and friends, doesn’t mean you can’t present yourself with the gift of health while crossing off your season’s to-do list.
Shopping provides ample opportunities to turn gift buying into a full-body workout. Lace up your sneakers and grab your credit card; it’s time to burn some fat!
Bulk Up: If you’re shopping in a mall, instead of leaving your heavier items until the end of the trip, pick them up first. And by heavy, we mean items that are easy to carry–e.g.., not a bicycle or big screen TV. Think more along the lines of ski boots or snow globes that can fit into a shopping bag but create a bit of heft. These bulky pieces can act as weights as you bob and weave through the crowds, making shopping a time for strength training.
Flex Your Muscle: While standing in line–especially when holding packages–can be a small workout in itself, you can amp up the fat burning by flexing your muscles. Isometric moves such as tightening your abs, flexing your quads, squeezing together your buns, or even practicing your kegels can all be executed without anyone around you being the wiser. Simply contract your muscles, hold, release, and repeat.
Take a Lap: Warm up to a day of shopping by arriving at the mall before the stores open. Many malls allow walkers in early to exercise in the common areas. Show up early to take a few laps, and while you’re at it, map out where you need to stop before crowds confuse you by standing in your way.
Pick up the Pace: Time yourself to see just how quickly you can speed your way through your holiday shopping. To help, it’s best to make a really good list and map out all of the stores you need to hit. If you’re shopping with family and friends, make it a race to see to who can finish first. Loser can treat the rest of the group to a calming cup of tea at the end of the day.
Take It Outside: Skip the mall and head downtown. If you have a quaint little shopping area in your own town, keep your gifts local by walking from home to nearby stores. If that’s not doable, make a weekend trip to a big city where shopping requires walking blocks to do your buying.
Work for It: It should go without saying by now, but you can easily burn more fat by skipping elevators and escalators in exchange for taking the stairs. And the same can be said for where you park. Go to the back of the lot. While busy shopping days will likely you lead you there anyway, when you do randomly come across a front row spot, drive by and leave it for the next person. Think of it as holiday goodwill.
Shop Online: If crowds are not your thing, shopping online may be a better option. Not only can you do it in the comfort of your own home at anytime of day, but it’s also quick–as in more time to get to the gym instead of spending it wandering through stores. If you want to make your home holiday shopping into a workout, switch your desk to a standing workstation or treadmill desk. That’s the gift that gives back to your health all year round!
We want to know how you’re staying on track with your fitness this holiday season. Share in the comments!