By Erin Munroe

The holidays are a great time to celebrate. Celebration, however, usually means lots of tempting foods and less time for fitness. But this doesn’t have to be the case if you create a reasonable fitness plan for this hectic time of year.

First, figure out where you do and don’t have time for fitness. You don’t need hours to fit in fitness; even ten-minutes here and there throughout the day will work. Be creative, you can multi-task, like watching the news while exercising, or throwing in some squats while folding laundry. Do you have an hour lunch break at work? Can you take a ten-minute break from home responsibilities every day? Do you know you will be baking treats for various parties every Thursday night? With responsibilities in mind, create a schedule. In this case, lunch breaks could be a possibility, while Thursday nights are out.

Second, what are your goals? Do you want to lose weight? Are you starting a fitness routine for the first time? Do you simply want to maintain your weight? Well, look at the time you have available. If you have an hour every day to commit to fitness (and you want to!) then a serious fitness routine with weight loss is possible. If you find you have ten minutes to work out on most days, maintaining your weight might be a more realistic goal. Keep in mind, holidays are fun, but also stressful, and adding on the stress of trying to lose weight can be overwhelming. Enjoy the holidays and make your goals achievable. Don’t get caught up in huge fitness goals that are going to cause you even more stress during the season. Consider working on maintaining your weight or starting a fitness routine during the season and working on loftier goals once your days settle down.

Third, reevaluate your goals. What type of person are you? Can you be trusted to work out on your own? If not, grab a buddy. Do you hate getting out of bed in the morning? Then don’t forgo your beloved shut-eye for run. Do you need a goal other than your own fitness to get you going? Then sign up for a road race, or make fitness goals a competition with co-workers or friends.
Fourth, find a way to be accountable; Write it in your daily planner, set alarms on your cell phone, have a friend or family member check in on you, treat yourself to something non-edible if you meet your goal for the day. If you really only have ten minutes a day to exercise, setting an  alarm for when your ten minutes starts and an alarm for when it stops can be really helpful. This way you won’t watch the clock and distract yourself from your exercises.

Fifth, don’t be too strict. If you have a day where something cuts into your planned hour of exercise – Relax! Use the time you do have, even if it is five minutes, to squeeze in a few sets of push-ups or sit-ups. If you focus on what you didn’t do, you will only frustrate yourself. If you miss a few days, don’t give up, just move on and get back to your schedule.

Sixth, do something you enjoy. Hate running? Don’t run. Love dancing in your living room? Dance every day. Scared of gyms? Rent an exercise DVD from the library or find an on demand routine on the television. Hate working out alone? Get a group of friends together for a dance party, pilates class, or evening walk. Making yourself workout if you hate it isn’t going to get you fit any time soon. You have to find some enjoyment, so make it fun!

Remember, fitness doesn’t take hours every day, for some quick fitness ideas check out Morgan Vermel’s story on ten-minute workouts and get moving!!

Erin Munroe is the author of “The Everything Guide to Stepparenting”, technically reviewed by Irene Levine, PhD, and published by Adams Media. Currently Erin works as Licensed Mental Health Counselor at a Community Health Center where she sees children, adolescents, and families experiencing a range of issues.
More great holiday gift-giving articles and ideas can be found in  our new Holiday Gift-giving Guide at