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How to reduce stress at the holidays

Articles & Tips - Stress - Traveling During The Holiday Season?

 
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Traveling During The Holiday Season?  Top 10 tips to stick to your workouts and reduce stress - Lynn Bode, CFT


The holiday season brings with it a lot of magic. Unfortunately, the challenges many face of juggling their time effectively during the hectic holiday season with also keeping up with their normal daily activities can prove quite stressful.

The holiday season also reflects some of the busiest travel times. According to AAA, nearly 65 million Americans will travel during the holidays.  And being away from home often increases stress.

One great stress reducer is exercise. But holiday chaos coupled with travel often causes workout routines to be abandoned. 

However, with a little advanced planning you can make exercise a priority even when away from home. Here are some tips to help you combat the stresses of holiday travel through working out and eating well.
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. Be realistic. You probably won't be able to fit in your normal weekly workouts and that's okay. Shoot for completing at least 50% of your normal regimen.
. Keep family in the loop. If you are staying with family, let them know that keeping to your fitness regimen while with them is important to you. And, explain to them ahead of time your eating plans so that if you skip one of their homemade delicacies they won't feel hurt or offended.
. Scope out local gyms. If you are either staying with family where no fitness equipment is available or at a hotel without a gym, then inquire at the nearby local fitness centers for their rates. Often they offer day passes for minimal fees.
. Pack a resistance band in your suitcase. The band takes up very little space, yet can provide you with an entire upper and lower body workout routine. Plus if you stay where space is at a premium, you can perform exercises that don't require large open areas.
. Don't deprive yourself of all the special delicacies. You can enjoy some special meals without going overboard. Indulge in some of your favorite family recipes but check your portions.
. Be creative. Find unique, fun ways to exercise instead of doing the same routine you do when you are at home. Try to get a family game of kickball or touch football started. Shoot some hoops with some of the kids in the family. Or, get the whole gang to go ice skating. Effective workouts aren't limited to the standard fares of walking, jogging and fitness machines.
. Create a new recipe tradition. Offer your assistance in the kitchen and whip up some healthier holiday alternatives. Many traditional seasonal favorites can be altered in ways that lower their fat and calorie content. There are even websites that offer recipe makeovers to help you make a meal healthier.

. Prepare snacks. If your journey includes a lot of time in the car, be sure to pack some healthy snacks so you aren't forced to eat at all the fast food and convenience shops along the way.
. Get comfortable. Don't forget to pack comfortable workout attire that fits your destination's climate.
. One is a magic number. Find it nearly impossible to say no to Grandma's homemade goodies? If you just can't risk breaking your host's heart, then stick to only one helping. Don't go for seconds or thirds! And, keep the portion sizes realistic. You might even have to use a smaller plate to make her think you're eating more than you actually are.

Here is a quick, simple circuit workout that only requires a resistance band and can be done anywhere (even in a small space). Complete at least one set of 8-12 reps of each exercise.

. Bicep Curl with band
. Tricep Kickback with band
. Lat Pull Down with band 
. Front Raise with band
. Modified Push-Up
. Squat with band
. Abductor lift
. Hamstring Kicks

For detailed instructions on how to perform each of the above exercises, visit: www.workoutsforyou.com/holiday_exercises.asp 

About the author: Lynn Bode is a certified personal trainer specializing in Internet-based fitness programs. She founded Workouts For You, which provides affordable online exercise programs that are custom designed for each individual. Visit: http://www.workoutsforyou.com to access their special Holiday Fitness Section. Fitness professionals, learn how to support your clients online, visit: http://www.trainerforce.com 
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