12 Steps to Stay in Shape During Winter Break

 Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean your fitness regimen has to be put on the back burner. Implement healthy habits that will keep you on track during winter break and the holiday season. Here are 12 easy steps to help keep your body in peak condition.

1. Set short-term goals

Pick one or two things to focus on during December. Whether that’s strength training, body-weight exercises or increasing your weight on the squat machines, setting short term goals will help you stay committed and consistent.

2. Make a plan

If you often push your fitness regimen to the side, creating a solid plan can help you maintain a routine. On days when you don’t have practice or training sessions, dedicate 30 minutes to an hour to get outside and get a quick run or circuit routine done. By dedicating time to physical fitness during your day, you’ll be more likely to stay consistent.

3. Drink plenty of water

No matter what sport you’re playing or how much you’re exercising, staying hydrated is absolutely essential for a healthy body and mind. Helping to transport energy (like glucose) to your muscles and carry waste products (like lactic acid) away, water regulates body temperature, prevents muscle cramps and helps reduce sugar cravings, which is essential during the holidays. While sports drinks are tempting, they can actually cause stomach problems and dehydration in higher concentrations like those in sugary fruit juices. The only real thirst quencher is water.

4. Get plenty of protein

Eating plenty of protein is essential to maintaining a strong and healthy body. High in protein and rich in vitamins and minerals, pork is an excellent addition to a healthy diet. Because it contains all nine essential amino acids necessary for your body’s growth, eating pork can be extremely beneficial for bodybuilders, athletes, people recovering from surgery or anyone who wants to build or repair muscles.

5. Eat your fruits and vegetables

You might be eating enough calories to get you through the day, but it takes more than just calories to help your body function properly. Teenagers need food that is nutrient dense and rich in vitamins and minerals. Here are a couple easy ways to up your fruit and vegetable intake.

  • Start your morning with fresh fruit. Whether you have a smoothie or a fruit bowl, getting a hearty helping of fruit in the morning can help fuel your body throughout the day.
  • Keep prepared fruit in the fridge to snack on throughout the day. A few grapes, some apple slices, cherries, orange slices, etc.
  • Try to eat at least one or two vegetables at dinner time. Incorporate some leafy greens as a side. 

6. Wash your hands frequently

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect you and your family from getting sick, and now more than ever it’s important to keep up with your hand washing. According to the CDC, here are some key times to wash your hands.

  • Before, during and after preparing food
  • Before and after eating food
  • After handling your pets or other animals
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing

7. Prioritize sleep

One of the best ways to take care of your body during winter break is to get plenty of sleep. During the school year, homework and other obligations keep you busy. Winter break allows you the perfect chance to catch up on your sleep. Though it can be tough to get yourself into a sleep regimen that’s easy to maintain, shutting off electronics at a certain time and avoiding caffeine are just two ways to help catch some peaceful zzz’s.

8. It’s Okay to Miss A Day

Prioritizing exercise is important, but be realistic and go easy on yourself. The holidays can get hectic. Be mindful of when you have time to fit in some gym time, but don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day.

9. Take advantage of winter activities

Don’t underestimate the calorie burn that comes along with winter activities. Ice skating, sledding, skiing or even a snowball fight with the family have the potential to be a great workout while still being fun.

10. Find a workout partner

A workout buddy can hold you accountable. If you’ve always been someone who likes to hit the gym solo, this could be the perfect time to pair up with a friend for extra motivation. Schedule a few days a week to meet each other at the gym (either in person or virtually) or go for a walk/run outside together.

11. Stretch daily

Getting a good stretch in is quick and essential for your muscles to properly recover from your workouts. Take 10 minutes to yourself each morning or night to run through a couple of stretches and help your muscles relax.

12. Enjoy yourself

While you should be mindful about eating a certain number of fruits, vegetables and protein, restraining yourself from certain foods isn’t necessary. It is the holiday season, after all. Feel free to indulge in some of the treats that you love — just don’t go overboard. Here’s a sweet treat that the whole family will enjoy!