During the holidays, it’s tempting to throw your workouts by the wayside with the promise to start again after the New Year. Research shows that when regular exercise stops, de-training occurs within a few weeks. It's better to shift to maintenance workouts than to stop altogether and lose what you've worked so hard to gain. Even if you need to reduce the time of each session or cut back one workout a week, maintaining the momentum of your regular exercise routine is much easier than stopping and trying to re-establish it again later.
Exercise can also be a valuable tool to get you through the challenges of the holiday season. Here are 4 reasons why you should give yourself the gift of regular exercise.
Holiday Weight Gain
The holidays are a high-risk time for gaining weight. Exercise can combat this risk by burning calories, and by maintaining muscle mass which sustains metabolic rate.
Shopping, increased food preparation, frequent visitors, and managing finances all lead to increased stress. Exercise promotes the release of hormones that improve mood and reduce feelings of anxiety. See 4 Ways Exercise Reduces Stress and Improves Mood.
As we approach the winter solstice, the season chips away at our daylight hours. For many people, this can lead to varying degrees of seasonal depression. Exercise can reduce symptoms of depression and elevate mood. Performing an outdoor workout during the daylight hours provides additional benefits by increasing sunlight exposure.
Exercise Provides Structure
One of the main culprits associated with stress, depression, and weight gain is a reduction in structure within daily routines. Maintaining your exercise schedule provides structure to your day. The routine will help you stay on track with food intake, aid in maintenance of sleep schedules, and provide a framework so you can prioritize the demands of the holiday season.