How to Beat Holiday Weight Gain

Parties, food and more parties; the holiday season is filled with family, friends, fun and high-calorie delectable delights that we can't wait to sink our teeth into. This time of year is more important than ever to stay true to your fitness goals so you continue to feel great and look fabulous into the new year.

Stick to your exercise routine during the holidays, even as your life gets busier and schedules become more hectic. Working out and keeping your body healthy helps keep stress at bay; especially during this bustling time of year.

Here are some ways to incorporate fitness into your holiday activities:

Schedule it on Your Calendar

Make exercising one of your daily activities that you always do without fail; like brushing your teeth every morning. Put it on your calendar at work. Or add it to your "to do" list and check it off each day. With this mindset, working out becomes a pleasurable part of your daily routine.

Remain Classy

If you exercise in a group fitness class, make a pact with classmates to continue attending no matter how many parties you are invited to. Many classes offer attendance incentives over the holidays. Sign up and recruit a friend. While traveling, look online for a fitness class or fitness center near your destination.

Involve Family

Whether you have company in your home or if you're visiting family, involve some or all of them in your fitness routine. Turn a room or portion of a room temporarily into an exercise studio and work out to a fitness DVD. Ask your father or mother to join you for a walk outdoors if weather permits. If your siblings are active, invite them to join you for skiing, skating, snowboarding or a game of hockey. Toss a ball with your grandchildren.

Excuse Yourself

If your family won't join you, make time for yourself. Set your alarm and get up an hour before the family rises. If you're out of town, walk in a park with your iPod. If you like team sports, look online for pickup games of your choice. Chances are some regular team members will be out of town and you'll be welcomed as a stand-in.

Accelerate Your Workouts

When your time is tight but you still want to move your body, shorten your routines. Doing less than normal is better for your mind and body than skipping your daily exercise entirely.

Do it at Home

If you're a gym or exercise class fan, but your time is at a premium, stock up on exercise DVDs you can do at home when your schedule is more full than normal. You can start and finish when you want, do as much or as little as you've got time for. Your classmates will welcome you back when you return—and you'll be as fit as ever.

Follow these suggestions to keep fit during the busy holiday season; you'll enjoy yourself more and stress less.

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Judi Sheppard Missett, who turned her love of jazz dance into a worldwide dance exercise phenomenon, founded the Jazzercise dance fitness program in 1969. The workout program, which offers a fusion of jazz dance, resistance training, Pilates, yoga and cardio box movements, has positively affected millions of people. Benefits include increased cardiovascular endurance, strength and flexibility, as well as an overall "feel good" factor.  For more information go to or call (800) FIT-IS-IT.

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