Fitness expert gives tips for staying on track during the holidays
MAYWOOD, Ill. – Just because Santa’s belly moves like a bowl of jelly doesn’t mean yours has to this holiday season. Staying on track with your fitness program, even while traveling, will give you extra energy and start you out right for a healthful new year.
“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,” said Kara Smith, fitness trainer and special programs coordinator at the Loyola Center for Fitness.
Here are a few helpful tips:
• Pack healthy snacks such as trail mix, apples and oranges. This will not only save you calories, but money as well.
• When packing, include a small Thera-Band or resistance tubing so you can perform your favorite strength-training exercises when not at the gym.
• Consider purchasing a new fitness DVD for your trip. It’s always fun to try something new.
• Get the whole family involved in a fitness activity. A pickup football game, family walk or building a snowman are all great ways to get in some exercise while enjoying holiday fun.
• If staying at a hotel , check whether it has a fitness center. If so, bring exercise clothes and take advantage of it.
• If traveling by car, plan for frequent stops to walk and stretch. During the breaks make circles with your shoulders and wrists to encourage blood flow in your arms.
• Eating a sensible meal before going to a holiday party will help you resist temptation.
• Limit yourself to one trip to the buffet table and don’t overload your plate.
• Decide ahead of time what specific foods mean the most to you during the holidays. Enjoy a small portion of those and skip the other high-calorie and high-fat foods.
• Sit down to eat your meal at a party. Taking the time to sit down will help you recognize when you are starting to feel full.
“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.
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Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.