TUESDAY, Dec. 27 (HealthDay News) -- With all those parties, tempting foods and travel, it can be a challenge to stick with your fitness program during the holidays.
But doing so can give you extra energy and help you get a good start on a healthful new year, according to Kara Smith, a fitness trainer and special programs coordinator at the Loyola Center for Fitness.
"Whether you're at home for the holidays or traveling, it is important to stay on your path to fitness during the holidays. Maintaining your workout routine will help you resist overindulging at holiday meals and parties," she said in a Loyola University Health System news release.
She offered some advice:
- When packing for a trip, include an elastic resistance band so you can do strength-training exercises when you're not at the gym. You might also consider buying a new fitness DVD for your trip so that you can have fun trying something new.
- If you're staying at a hotel, find out if it has a fitness center and if it does, pack exercise clothes and take advantage of the workout opportunity.
- Make fitness a family activity. For example, going for a family walk, having a pick-up football game or building a snowman are all ways to get exercise and have holiday fun at the same time.
- If you're traveling by car, stop frequently to get out, walk and stretch. Promote blood flow in your arms by making circles with your shoulders and wrists.
- To save calories and money, pack healthy snacks like trail mix and fresh fruit.
- Eating a healthy meal before you go to holiday get-togethers will help limit your consumption of unhealthy party foods.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol, which adds calories and affects your ability to make decisions about healthy eating.
"You can still enjoy the holidays without wrecking your fitness plan. The holidays are about spending time together. So enjoy the conversation and company and limit the cookies," Smith said.
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute offers a guide to physical activity.