Too bad we can’t just snap our fingers and enjoy a “normal” holiday season, right?
Well, 2020’s unique circumstances can bring a key reminder about living healthy after 50: Exercise, nutrition, stress management are more important than ever – and consistency is vital to getting fit AND to staying fit.
The commitments we make and remake every day bring us long-term benefits, and make us feel better right away.
So, let’s not let the holidays throw us off-track — regardless of the choices you make this year to spend time with family, to travel, or to stay at home. How do you stay on track while also enjoying yourself?
Here are our Top 10 Tips.
- Be active every day. Maintain your normal workout routine as much as possible. If you’re traveling, that might mean bringing some equipment, including an exercise mat, resistance bands, and small weights.
- Work out and eat right in the days leading up to your travel or other breaks in your regular schedule. That will balance out the inevitable calorie spikes you’re going to enjoy.
- Remain flexible. When you can’t hit the gym, go for a walk or a jog. Try some bodyweight exercises. Play with the kids. Lead the family on an outing at a local park or sledding hill.
- Don’t let a single holiday become a week of gluttony and sloth. If you’re driving somewhere, pack a sensible lunch rather than rely on roadside fast-food restaurants and diners. And plan to take 15-minute walking breaks every hour or two. After the holiday, resist the temptation to keep eating leftovers. Get back to your fitness routine as soon as possible, even if you don’t quite feel like it yet.
- Drink plenty of water every day. It will help keep you from feeling hungry.
- Eat sensibly – vegetables first. Eat slowly. Stop when you feel 80 percent full because it takes a while for our tummies to tell our brains we’ve had enough.
- Limit your alcohol. Too much easily becomes just empty calories that lower inhibition and lead to sloppy overeating.
- Get plenty of sleep. Not getting enough can lead to crankiness and other body disruptions that can lead to, yep, overeating, and sloth.
- Use smaller plates and glasses, and limit the empty carbohydrates to the treats you truly enjoy.
- Calm down and enjoy yourself. Yes, it’s important to not go crazy with food and too much sitting around the house. But it’s also important to remember that healthy living is a lifelong commitment, and your good habits can sustain, oh, say a second piece of pumpkin pie.
Breaks like holidays are meant to be enjoyed, and they don’t have to throw us off track too hard – as long as we know when to get back on.
Finally, keep up whatever spiritual habits you practice, maintain gratitude, and be charitable in word and deed.
Let’s talk about any questions you have about exercise, nutrition, and more!
Holly Kouvo is a personal trainer, functional aging specialist, senior fitness specialist, brain health trainer, writer, and speaker.