Staying Fit For the Start of the Holiday Season

By Nicole Flanagan

October marks the beginning of the holiday season. This is the time of year when we start making all those yummy baked goods and delicious homemade soups. Instead of letting all this wonderful food catch up to us this year, let’s make a goal to maintain our fitness. Fall is the best time to get yourself back into a fitness routine and gear up for the cooler months ahead. Here are some tips to keep you motivated for the next month.

I’m sure that some of you have had a little extra time to set aside for your workout now that the kids are back in school.  Just remember that dedicated workout times are great but you can get your exercise other ways as well.  You don’t necessarily have to set aside a whole hour to workout. Exercising can actually be a lot of fun.   Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Look for an activity that suits the whole family! Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you’re moving, it counts!

Exercise helps us deal with stress and can increase the energy we need to deal with all of our daily activities. Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You’ll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly. This will boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.  Use regular exercise as a way to improve your own well-being and as a way to keep up with your busy life.

If your weekdays are anything like mine, you are running around from the minute you wake up in the morning until you climb into bed at night. While exercise can help you have more energy throughout the day, it can also help you sleep better at night. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The timing is up to you. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to try late afternoon workouts. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after you exercise should help you fall asleep.  When you sleep better at night, you wake up feeling more energized for the day.  Having a good night’s sleep can improve your productivity, mood and concentration.

As if all of the above aren’t enough good reasons to exercise, here is yet another one that will keep you motivated through the cooler months.  Exercise helps improve your immune system.  We are exposed to viruses and germs every day.  As the weather gets cooler we tend to spend less time outdoors and more time inside.  The average adult will get sick with a cold about two times a year.  Some people are less susceptible to becoming sick because their immune systems are stronger. More and more research is finding a link between moderate regular exercise and a strong immune system. Regular exercise has been linked to a positive immune system response and a temporary boost in the production of macrophages, the cells that attack bacteria. It is believed that consistent exercise can lead to substantial benefits in immune system health over the long-term.

With the holidays right around the corner and things becoming more hectic, we can all count on exercise as one way to de-stress and stay healthy.  Aside from the many benefits I have mentioned already, I’m sure you have come to find that exercise is something that can help the many aspects of our busy lives.  Whether you work out to de-stress from work, keep up with your family, or simply for the feeling of a good hard workout, exercise is something that you can always fall back on.

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