Four tips to stay active during the holidays

By Kimberly Burke

We are getting to that time of the year when our precious spare time begins to dwindle. It was hard enough to exercise on a regular basis before the holidays, how are you supposed to do it now with shopping, parties, family and travel? Resist the temptation to tell yourself that January will be a fresh start because you can be active throughout the holiday season. Here are a few tips to help you achieve that goal.

Silhouette of a runner on snowy winter morning1) Avoid online shopping. While it may be easier to shop online, a trip to the mall for some holiday shopping will squeeze in a little extra exercise that you may have been missing. Many of us make it our mission to get in, get the gift, and get out. Instead, try to walk around the whole place once and enjoy the festivities. If you buy gifts along the way, you’re just giving yourself an extra arm workout.

2) Shovel snow by hand. Shoveling snow by hand is a great workout, even if you only do it for a portion of your sidewalk or driveway. Just be careful of your back. Shovel and lift the snow with a squat motion. This will use your legs and spare your back. If it job takes you 30-60 minutes, congratulations! Your daily workout is done. It feels good to kill two birds with one stone, doesn’t it?

3) Do activities together outside. Winter weather lends itself to some great outdoor activities. Why not try ice skating, sledding, building a snow man or snowshoeing? Colorado lends itself to these activities because despite the snow on the ground, you can usually count on the sun to be shining.

4) Take advantage of short breaks. Getting in a 10- to 20-minute workout is better than getting no workout at all. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare, come up with a rotation of exercise that you can work through. Something like 20 squats, 20 jumping jacks, 20 push-ups, 20 crunches, 30-60 second plank, 20 floor bridges. Repeat this cycle as many times as you can with the few minutes you’ve got.

Staying active over this time of year will help to deal with the natural holiday stress and help to maintain or even lose weight during a time of year when many people gain. It is also a good reminder that while it is always nice to think of others, it’s OK to take care of yourself too.

Kimberly Burke is the director of the Adult Fitness Program at Colorado State University, an outreach program through the Department of Health and Exercise Science. Adult Fitness offers exercise opportunities for employees of CSU as well as community members, while providing hands-on learning experiences for health promotion students. To learn more see

For more healthy exercise and nutrition tips, see the College of Health and Human Sciences Pinterest Board.