Four Exercise Strategies for Keeping the Weight Off During the Holidays

This article was originally published in Diabetes Health in December, 2004.

Before starting any exercise regimen, please consult with your diabetes care professionals.

| Dec 10, 2008

The holiday season presents many challenges for individuals with diabetes. don’t mean to rain on your fruitcake, but research indicates that weight gain during the holiday season is typically on the order of 5 to 10 pounds.

The reason for this weight gain is because there are so many more opportunities to overindulge during the holidays (such as office parties and family dinners and outings) and less time to exercise due to all the hustle and bustle.

For a person with type 2 diabetes, even a small gain of 5 to 10 pounds can significantly effect glucose and overall diabetes control.

Therefore, weight maintenance during the holiday season is critical.

Here are four exercise-based strategies you can incorporate in your routine to help you avoid or at least lessen the seasonal impact on your glucose control.

Strategy 1: Increase Your Activity Level

The first strategy is to include more “active” activities in your holiday routine.

For example, try taking the stairs instead of elevators and parking a greater distance from the entrances of malls and shops.

When you visit neighbors and friends during the holiday, try walking instead of driving or taking the bus if they live close by.

Strategy 2: Don’t Let the Weather Get the Best of You

Bad weather can pose a significant challenge to maintaining your usual level of activity during the holiday season.

Rather than giving up on your activity during inclement weather, seek out an alternative location for exercise.

For example, many shopping malls welcome walkers during the hours prior to opening. Shopping malls are climate-controlled areas and offer a safe environment for exercise. In my neighborhood, three of our local hospitals offer walking clubs associated with shopping malls. The walks are scheduled at convenient times during the day. These walking clubs offer a safe, supervised area and friendly company for exercise.

Check with your local hospitals and shopping malls to see if this service is provided; it could be a helpful way to continue your exercise routine even in bad weather.

Strategy 3: Involve Your Family and Friends

A third strategy is to involve your family and friends in your exercise routine.

Holidays offer more opportunities for family togetherness and socializing, so find a way to make these interactions help you maintain your exercise routine. You might consider family walks or cycling trips around your neighborhood. Visiting friends in the neighborhood, taking after-dinner strolls together, or caroling with friends or family can keep you moving yet not disrupt your holiday plans.

Strategy 4: Diversify Your Routine

A fourth strategy, my personal favorite, is to diversify your exercise routine. Adding a modest strength-training program or another aerobic activity such as cycling or stair climbing to your current exercise program are ways to accomplish this goal. These four strategies are easy to adopt and can help you to keep off the extra seasonal weight.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

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Categories: Diabetes, Diabetes, Exercise, Losing weight, Type 2 Issues

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Posted by Anonymous on 7 November 2007

The author starts off by saying that most people gain 5-10 pounds. I've just read more than a dozen articles saying this is what most people think they gain during the holidays, but in actuality, most gain about a pound. A few studies cited this as well. That discredits the author from the beginning.

Posted by Anonymous on 11 December 2008

To the first person to comment- I agree about that being wrong. But saying it discredits the entire article from the beginning? That kind of makes it sound like the entire piece is complete nonsense. It isn't. It's just exercise plans that work for someone, and they could be good tips for others. Exercise is just more of an individual thing- different things work for different people.

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