During the holidays, all those Advent calendar chocolates, gravy-smothered holiday feasts and grandma’s famous pies can really take their toll on your waistline. That’s to say nothing about the eggnog and similar festive beverages at your office and family Christmas parties. With all these wintery treats before us, it’s no surprise when researchers warn that the average American gains 5 lbs. or more every holiday season.
This might not seem like a massive number, but it can really add up over the years. Plus, as time progresses, that extra weight can cause hormone imbalances, insulin resistance and other side effects that make the weight pile on faster than Santa Claus coming down the chimney.
This winter, make a pledge to yourself that you’ll find ways to work physical activity into your week. And because it’s a festive season, get off that boring treadmill! With snow days and twinkling lights putting us all into a great mood, winter is the perfect time to enjoy the crisp outdoors, burn off a few calories and have so much fun while we’re doing it that we don’t even realize that it’s — gasp — exercise!
When the DJ calls everyone onto the dance floor at your next holiday banquet, jingle it all the way! In just one hour of shaking it on the dance floor, the average 175-lb. adult burns 198 calories.
It’s easy to break a sweat while you dust the cabinets to make room for your Christmas snow globes, and wiping down said snow globes before your mother-in-law comes over also burns a few calories. In fact, cleaning up your home for the next family holiday get-together burns almost 200 calories in an hour.
Head downhill and you’ll burn off 330 calories worth of Christmas junkfood. Head crosscountry instead, and the calories burned jump to moer than 460 calories.
Snowshoeing is the perfect way to immerse yourself in nature and squeeze a hike into even the most snowy of days. This classic Christmas pasttime will burn you almost 530 calories in an hour.
Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner, and you’ll burn just over 250 calories. The fresh air can wake you up after indulging in a bit too much food. Research has shown that daily walks can also brighten your mood, the perfect way to keep a cheerful attitude when the days are cold and short (and when family awkwardness often bubbles to the surface).
Practice Winter Safety
While enjoying your favorite winter activities, don’t forget that it also exposes you to a few safety hazards. Don’t let a winter hazard keep you away from the mistletoe. The CDC recommends the following safety precautions this holiday:
- Wear appropriate outdoor clothing: layers of light, warm clothing; mittens; hats; scarves; and waterproof boots.
- Sprinkle cat litter or sand on icy patches.
- Learn safety precautions to follow when outdoors.
- Be aware of the wind chill factor.
- Work slowly when doing outside chores.
- Take a buddy and an emergency kit when you are participating in outdoor recreation.
- Carry a cell phone.
- Protect your family from carbon monoxide.
- Keep grills, camp stoves, and generators out of the house, basement and garage.
- Locate generators at least 20 feet from the house.
- Leave your home immediately if the CO detector sounds, and call 911.