Healthy living shouldn't take a holiday

Planning will help us make time for exercise

Healthy living shouldn’t take a holiday

 

By Amanda Salyer-Funk

 

It happens every year at this time. We simply run out of enough hours in a day to squeeze in exercise because of all the parties to attend, the presents to wrap, food to cook and homes to decorate. The thousands of reps in the weight room or laps in the pool go to the wayside.

 

In the next few weeks, we will bargain with ourselves — “I’ll run an extra mile tomorrow” or “I’ll get back on the program as soon as the house is clean.” But let’s face it: We are bad at negotiating. One day in January, we wake up a few pounds heavier, a little bit less merry, and the house is still messy. Guilt sets in, and we begin our annual New Year’s resolution to get back in shape.

 

We don’t have to face this annual guilt trip or the well-meaning promises to get back on the wagon right after the bowl games end and the last relative shuffles out of town.

 

Instead, we should start today thinking of ourselves as that wagon. It’s a vehicle that goes from point A to Point B but needs plenty of fresh air, proper nutrition and exercise. By getting away from our solid health-centered lifestyle and falling into the holiday rut, we damage the vehicle just as we would if we failed to keep it properly tuned.

 

So, as we look forward to office parties, family gatherings and mounds of sugar-laden treats, we should remember our wellness plan and examine our actions during the holidays. For example:

 

  • Plan your exercise program throughout the month, making time for workouts just as your do the office party or eating cake with your grandmother.
  • When attending those holiday parties, fill up on fruits, veggies and water and limit fatty foods, sugar cookies and alcohol.
  • Involve the whole family or create a new exercise tradition with friends.
  • Buy a new pair of workout shoes and hit the pavement right now. The cake can wait.

 

Throughout the year, we must confront special occasions where we’re tempted to overindulge and allow our time to be prioritized by activities not always designed to maintain our physical health.

 

By mid-February, when most of us have forgotten our New Year’s resolution, we are faced by Valentine’s Day and then St. Patrick’s Day. It warms up a few weeks later, and we encounter Cinco de Mayo, graduations, Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. We end summer with Labor Day only to roll into Halloween and Thanksgiving.

 

So, as we enter the most festive time of the year, let’s take a few minutes to map out our strategy for the next few weeks. It is as simple as putting our workouts and parties into a calendar in order to keep ourselves healthy. Remember that you are the driver of the wagon instead of a rider who slides off all the time.

 

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Amanda Salyer-Funk is physical education instructor at Ball State as well as mother of two and wife of a former U.S. serviceman.