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Keep Calm, and Keep Moving

Life can feel overwhelming this time of year, as we catapult toward the end of one year and the beginning of another.  Family dynamics.  Work deadlines.  A tip for the paper boy.  White elephants.  Hand-drawn notes for the teachers.  Ice on the windshield.  Coats for the coat drive.  Tree trimming.  Holiday parties.  Cold, dark mornings.  “Can we please go to Santa’s house?  Pluheeeeeeese?”

This can easily become the season of forgetting to take care of ourselves…of making silent promises that we’ll “get back on track in the new year.”  Particularly when it comes to exercise, motivation can be tough to muster when the days are cold and the mornings seem to come too soon….when the glittering lights on the tree contrast with the cold winds outside…when we convince ourselves that restoration equals hibernation.  But the truth is, our bodies need to move in stressful times like this.  If you’re struggling to make time, or reaching for the snooze button, or opting for a movie over a hike, here are a few ways to motivate this holiday season.

  • Make a workout date with a friend.  It’s a lot harder to bail on a morning run when your friend is meeting you on the corner.  Find a partner, set a time, and make it happen.
  • Sign up for a fitness class.  Bonus points if you go to a class where the teacher knows to expect you or your neighbor will wonder why spin bike #18 is empty.
  • Sign up for an event.  Most cities have “Hot Chocolate” or “Jingle Bell” run/walk events, complete with some festive surprises along the way.  Sign up for one, bundle up, and get to the start line.
  • Mix it up.  Try something totally new.  Boxing.  Snowshoeing.  (Indoor) SUP.  Our human brains love novelty.  And who knows?  You might just fall in love it with wife-carrying, or whatever you decide to try!
  • Do it for the people you love.  Do your kids want you to be healthy?  How about your mom?  Your partner?  Your boss?  Do it for them…so you’ll be able to be show up with energy and joy and peace when you gather for the holidays, and so you’ll thrive for years to come.
  • Be grateful that you CAN.  Not everyone lives in a place where it’s safe to go outside.  People have medical conditions that keep them in bed all day long.  Injuries can spring up any time.  We don’t have control over tomorrow, but we do have choices about how we live today.  So give thanks, embrace the gift, and make the most of it.

And if that’s not enough, remember that getting your heart rate up warms you up…it clears your head…it will make you feel happier…it will give you more energy at that holiday party you need to go to tonight…it will make your kids think you’re a hero…it will make you proud…it will make you strong…it will make you calm…it will make you you.  And that’s true not just during the holidays, but during all the days.

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Image from State of Michigan Public Health Campaign (via Flickr Creative Commons)

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. Chris Henry #

    Thank you, Brynn. A well-timed reminder for us all. Chris Henry

    December 15, 2013
  2. Thank you for the reminder and motivation. I have definitely fallen off track this past week or so. Off to sneak in a “short better than nothing workout”

    December 15, 2013
  3. There’s nothing like exercising after a hard day at work! Thanks for the reminder about the importance of moving. Will reblog on http://www.galeweithers.wordpress.com because it’s so timely. Happy holidays!

    December 15, 2013
  4. So true! I find as a family now we tend to all bond during exercise pursuits each morning and it works well as a counter to all that holiday eating we know we’ll do later…motivating each other to keep at it is key.

    December 16, 2013
  5. Thanks for the nudge…I’ve been doing the whole “I don’t have time right now, I’ll get back to it after Christmas..” Bla…guess I’m going to the gym after work today!! Have a great week! If it’s ok, I’ll share this on my blog as well http://seekingjohn1010.wordpress.com/

    December 16, 2013
  6. Thanks for your thoughts! I definitely had to regroup this weekend to regain my motivation!

    December 16, 2013
  7. Sis #

    These are great ideas, thank you for thinking them up. It is so hard to take care of yourself when life gets busy.

    December 16, 2013
  8. As I tell my daughter upon returning home from work…give me 30 minutes wearing my running shoes and I will come back a new and improved Mom!

    December 18, 2013
    • Good for you for being honest with your daughter about what you need to give her what she needs. Thanks for sharing!

      December 18, 2013
  9. dixie tomchuk #

    great post and good ideas to keep healthy even when you don’t feel like it! Merry Christmas

    December 18, 2013
  10. This motivates me to exercise! Great ideas! Thanks for posting this.

    April 22, 2015

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. December 16, 2013 ~ Keep Calm, and Keep Moving | Sheep, Beans & Running Shoes
  2. You are not exercising for anyone else except you! | Living Life: Day by Day

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