The holiday season is upon us with winter break quickly approaching, and with the break usually comes holiday feasting and sometimes decreased activity.
Don’t sweat about gaining a holiday bulge. The average weight gain from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day is one pound. However, studies have shown taking a break from exercise during the same time frame can contribute to a reduction of cardiovascular fitness of up to 20 percent.
Working out for as little as 20 minutes per day can prevent the loss of hard-earned fitness gains. What’s your plan to stay fit over the holidays?
“With the Tough Mudder coming up soon, over the holidays, I plan on working out more,” said Ferris mechanical engineering technology freshman Chase Caras. “I live out in the middle of nowhere by Reed City, so I have plenty of room to run.”
Caras said he has one weakness over the holidays.
“My grandma makes a great pecan pie, so I get as much as I can,” said Caras.
Ferris pre-medicine freshman Madeline Workman is a student worker at the Rec Center who likes to stay active during the holidays.
“At home in my barn I have a pull-up bar and I try to run in the winter,” said Workman. “I also do squats and anything to get that cardio in, even a little bit. I also like downhill and cross-country skiing and snow-shoeing. I actually really hate winter but it’s not as bad if I can go outside and do things.”
Eating right is also important to maintain good health. It doesn’t matter how often someone works out, they’re not going to see the results they want if they’re not eating right, according to Workman.
“I make sure I’m consistent with my eating because I know I’m not going to get as many workouts in over the holidays,” said Workman. “And obviously there are going to be delicious foods, so I really can’t turn down the food. I try to keep track of what I’m eating because I’ll eat worse foods than what I normally eat, but I’ll eat less. If that makes sense.”
Students who don’t belong to a gym at home can still find ways to stay active indoors.
“I don’t belong to a gym where my parents live,” said Ferris molecular diagnostics freshman Nicole Auger. “I’ll be doing home exercises, like sit-ups, push-ups and using the stairs for leg workouts.”
Setting fitness and diet goals doesn’t need to wait for the New Year’s resolution. Getting started on goals right away can help create the positive habits needed for long-term behavior change.
“I don’t think you need a New Year’s resolution to say you’re going to get fit,” said Workman. “You can start setting goals tomorrow, like working out for 30 minutes a day. Something is better than sitting on the couch and eating an extra bowl of Cheerios, not that they’re that bad for you.”
Workman talked more about holding herself accountable for her goals and working at them until she meets them.
“I think the most important thing is setting goals that are attainable,” said Workman. “Each day I set a goal for, say, 30 minutes of cardio today. And if I don’t meet the goal, I set the goal again for the next day until I attain it. I set similar goals for my diet. Something like a goal to eat a cup of fruit for the day.”