Everyone knows the holiday season can be a difficult time when it comes to trying to stick to a fitness regimen. We eat a lot, drink a lot, and often have stress to deal with. Plus, we are busy cooking, cleaning, shopping, and decorating, and don’t always have time to get in an hour-long gym session.

But, like it or not, exercise should be continued (if not increased) this time of year to stay on top of your fitness goals — in spite of these influences. In fact, skipping exercise for more than approximately three weeks will lead to a decline in your overall fitness. That means if you take a break from your workouts from Thanksgiving to Christmas, you will have an added challenge facing you in the new year.
Man running in the cold

So, how do you maintain fitness during the holidays? Here are a few simple workout ideas to help you stay on track with your holiday fitness.


Walk, run, hike or bike. This can be done anywhere (weather permitting), and you can make it a group activity. This is an especially great idea for those traveling to visit family in warmer climates.

Get a resistance band and jump rope and fit in quick, intense sessions to get both strength training and cardio exercise from the comfort of your home or hotel room.

Wake up 30 minutes earlier and do a quick body-weight workout in the morning before starting your day. Do a circuit of pushups, lunges, planks, squats, and tricep dips (with a chair) and then repeat three or four times until you increase your heart rate and gradually feel more resistance.

Go sledding. Taking the little ones up a sled hill eight or nine times will get your heart pumping and your legs burning.

When traveling out of town, check out the area around your hotel to find workout options (hiking trails, parks, yoga classes, etc.) before you leave. The hotel may have a gym on property or fitness centers nearby may offer day passes. If your options are limited, simply take a walk and explore the area.

It may be a challenge to get in regular workouts with the hustle and bustle of the holidays getting in the way, but every little bit helps. Look for opportunities to get in a little extra activity, even if it is just quickly squeezed into your day. Taking an extra lap around the mall, getting off a stop early when riding the bus, or using the stairs instead of the escalator while your hands are full of presents provide a little extra support when trying to keep up with holiday fitness.