Staying healthy and getting in the holiday spirit don’t always go hand in hand, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have the best of both worlds this holiday season. If you tend to struggle with staying fit and feeling well during this time of year but can’t schedule in more time to exercise, we have good news.
Our magic bullet for feeling our best and still having time for family and festivity? Short, low-impact workouts (you might just want to keep these through the new year).
Sound too good to be true? Here’s the science behind it–
Exercise studies conducted over the past 30 years have shown that regular moderate exercise may decrease your risk of coming down with a cold or flu, while regular intense exercise may increase your risk of infection. This is because the various cogs and wheels of your immune system are in flux after physical exertion, leaving a window of time in which you’re more susceptible to viruses and bacteria. So, while doubling up on strenuous exercise may sound like the best way to counteract less active days and heavier foods, it may do more harm for your body than good–particularly if intense workouts are a new addition to your routine.
Here’s the sweet spot:
We recommend focusing primarily on 30-minute, low-impact workouts most days of the week. Think workouts like moderate strength training, yoga, hiking, or jogging. Dedicating some of your active time to low-impact workouts like these ensures you get the benefits of exercise without triggering your body’s production of cortisol, the hormone that’s activated during physical and mental stress. The added bonus? While you may burn fewer calories per workout, avoiding an uptick in cortisol means you’ll boost your body’s ability to burn fat. Not that there’s anything wrong with embracing your winter bod.
How do you exercise during the holidays? Let us know your favorite routines in the comments below!