The holiday season is in full swing and to check off everything on your to-do list, time and efficiency are of the essence. One important ‘to-do’ is regular exercise. Exercise helps manage stress and promotes the feeling of wellness, which can be fleeting during the holiday hustle-and-bustle. Rather than skipping a workout because you don’t have time, squeeze it in by making it shorter and more vigorous.
For example, if you typically workout for 45-60 minutes at a moderate intensity, cut it in half, but amp-up your effort. You’ll receive the same benefits, maximize your calorie burn, and feel more energy. Here’s how:
- Exercise outside of your comfort zone. By working outside of your comfort zone at a vigorous pace, you will improve your fitness conditioning and boost calorie burn. A 20-30 minute workout could be a run on the treadmill varying the incline and speed. Start at a comfortable pace, and work up to a pace that is very challenging but sustainable for the duration. Indicators that you are outside your comfort zone are an increase in your heart rate, labored breathing-only able to speak a sentence or two-increased sweating, and muscle fatigue.
- Do an interval workout. An interval workout involves a series of alternating low and high intensities. You can create your own interval workout with any type of activity that works a large muscle group in a repetitive manner (running, rowing, stair climbing, cycling, swimming, etc). Whatever your mode of exercise, start at a comfortable pace for 1-2 minutes then increase your pace for the next 3-4 minutes so that you are outside of your comfort zone. Repeat this cycle of low and high intensity for 20-30 minutes. An interval workout also helps to build aerobic capacity.
Exercise is essential. Every little bit counts; 20 minutes here, 30 minutes there, at the end of the week it all adds up. Whether you can make it to the gym or do home workouts, the bottom line is really this: keep moving, stay strong and have fun! A healthy and active mom has a healthy and HAPPY family!