8 Simple Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays

By Sarah Newkirk |

Don’t wait until January 1. Stay on track during the season of temptation with these simple tips.

couple walking on snow

’Tis the season of staying fit, said no one ever. Busy schedules, holiday parties, and endless culinary temptations combine to make it especially difficult to stick to your fitness routine this time of year.

Chances are, you’re going to fall off the workout wagon. That’s okay—we all do. Use these strategies to get right back on.

Stay-Fit Strategy #1: Remember Why You’re Doing It

When a client loses his or her motivation, corrective exercise specialist Kendra Fitzgerald prescribes a mental workout.

“I ask what’s motivating them to work out in the first place,” she says. “Whether you want to feel better, have more energy, be more productive at work, or age gracefully, it’s easier to commit the time and stick to it once you identify why you are working out.”

Need help finding your why? Fitness expert David Jack has some advice in the video below.

Stay-Fit Strategy #2: Start Small and Be Realistic

If your goal is to exercise daily, begin with one or two days a week. Pick days where you can easily fit it in. Add another day as each week goes by.

Even if you can’t get to your favorite SilverSneakers class or the gym, remember that 15 minutes of movement is better than no movement at all. Try one of our most popular workouts: these four essential exercises for older adults.

Stay-Fit Strategy #3: Picture Your Success

Write down your goal in a few simple words, and post it where you’ll see it every day. A visual reminder may strengthen your resolve. If you want to get back to your “fighting weight” of five years ago, put up a photo of yourself from that time. Or if you’re motivated by the ability to keep running, biking, or traveling, use a picture that reflects that.

Stay-Fit Strategy #4: Make It Mandatory

Time management is important for accomplishing any goal, and fitness is no exception. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, put it on your calendar. Call it your “feel better session,” and make that time nonnegotiable. You’ll boost your mood and health, and it will become a key part of your routine.

If you ever think you’re too busy to fit it in, try one of these quick workouts:

Stay-Fit Strategy #5: Track Your Progress Daily

Record your achievements daily or weekly: how many steps you walked, number of exercise reps, pounds lost, and so on. A pen and paper will work just fine, or you can schedule and log your workouts with the free SilverSneakers GO app (iOS and Android).

Stay-Fit Strategy #6: Recruit Someone to Hold You Accountable

Maintaining an ongoing schedule with the same person can help you stay accountable. You’ll want to hold up your part of the bargain.

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Plus, you can get a great workout while having a great time. Think about it: The more fun your workouts are, the more you’re going to look forward to and be committed to them over the long term. And consistency and longevity are necessary for achieving your goals.

A great place to find a fitness buddy: SilverSneakers classes.

Stay-Fit Strategy #7: Hold Yourself Accountable Too

Put your money where your mouth is: Pay a penalty for missing your workouts. Drop a dollar in a money jar, and then donate the dough to a favorite cause.

Stay-Fit Strategy #8: Savor Every Success

There’s no better feeling than finishing a challenging workout. Let the feeling of accomplishment wash over you, so that you’ll remember the feeling when it’s time for your next workout.

And make no mistake: This is a big deal! You’ve just rewarded yourself with better health this winter—and a happier, fuller, and potentially longer life.

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SilverSneakers gives you free, unlimited access to more than 15,000 gyms and fitness centers across the nation, plus classes and tools designed to keep older adults strong and independent. Check your eligibility instantly here.