Is it just us or does it feel like Halloween was just yesterday? And yet here we are, already in the throes of the winter holidays. If you’re anything like us, you absolutely love the holidays. But what you don’t love is the impact they can have on the healthy habits you work so hard to stick to. Our Christmas Workout Challenge can help you stay in shape and maintain your healthy habits throughout the season.
Doesn’t it feel like, despite your best efforts, your clean diet flies out the window the second talk turns to the holidays? Food-packed festivities mean your healthy eating regimen can take quite a hit. And while there are plenty of tried and true strategies for minimizing the diet damage—bringing your own healthy dishes, loading up on water and focusing on family and fun instead of food—the reality is, all of the celebrations can take a toll.
That’s why it’s especially important to keep up with your exercise routine this time of year. While the uptick in social events and errands (we’re looking at you, present-shopping procrastinators!) mean that you’ll probably have less time to squeeze in super long sweat sessions, there’s good news: You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits of exercise this holiday season. Getting moving, even just a few minutes each day, can be all it takes to preserve the fitness you’ve been working so hard to build. It can also help neutralize some of the indulgences that top your holiday table.
While the holidays may not be the time to expect quick weight loss, they don’t have to undo all of your hard-earned progress. If you are smart about your indulgences, follow your Nutrisystem meal plan and stick to a holiday workout routine, you can maintain your weight loss throughout the season.
That’s why we put together this Christmas Workout Challenge. With this holiday workout plan, you’ll alternate between cardio moves designed to get your blood pumping and slower, more static moves designed to stretch you out and promote strength and balance. By the time the big holiday rolls around, you’ll feel fit and fabulous!
Please note: Always consult with your doctor before trying any new workout plan.
On the first day of Christmas, we’re kicking things off with a simple, full body workout move: mountain climbers. This holiday workout move requires no equipment, which means you can do it anywhere, even if you’re away for the holidays. Simply find a flat surface and give it a go. Watch your form to prevent injury and start with just a few reps, then work your way up to more.
If yesterday’s workout of the day left you breathless, you’ll be happy to switch gears to this move. The side plank requires slow, deliberate movement and long pauses. But don’t underestimate the impact of the plank. It’s a great workout for your abs—specifically, your obliques. Hold it long enough and you’ll feel your muscles really tremble, which means it’s working! As with all the holiday workouts on our list, start slow with just a few reps and holding for just a few seconds. Work your way up to more reps and try holding the position longer each time. Need an incentive to hold your plank? Challenge a loved one to do this move with you and see who can hold it the longest!
All of the holiday shopping and decoration hanging can really do a number on your back. This move will help you strengthen your lower back while also toning your legs (get ready to feel those quads trembling!) and improving your balance. It can be done any time and is completely equipment-free, which means holiday travel won’t get in the way of squeezing in this Christmas workout.
If strengthening and stretching your shoulders, chest and abs while reducing stiffness in your back is on your holiday wish list this year, this move was made for you. This move is easy to do and an extremely effective way to stretch out multiple muscles; a great follow-up to yesterday’s Christmas workout.
A classic move you probably remember from your elementary school gym class days, jumping jacks are a great aerobic workout that’s sure to get your heart pumping and your blood flowing. If you’re new to this move, start slow and consider beginning with just the arm or leg motions until you’re comfortable doing both. Please note that this is a high impact exercise. If you have joint pain, you may want to consider substituting this Christmas workout with one of our other holiday moves on the list.
After yesterday’s Christmas workout move, you’re due for a nice, slow stretch. The downward dog is the perfect answer to sore muscles. Stretching and strengthening your muscles while improving your balance, this holiday workout move also targets your upper and lower body. You’ll feel it in your hands, arms, shoulders, back, calves, hamstrings and even the arches of your feet.
Who knew a simple step forward and back could give way to gorgeous gams? But it’s true: Nothing targets the legs quite like a lunge. It’s very important that you maintain good form while doing this holiday workout move, as poor form can result in injuries. When you step forward, make sure your knee does not extend beyond your toes.
If you’re feeling a little sore after yesterday’s Christmas workout move, congrats! That means you put those muscles to work. Reward yourself today with the Warrior II pose, a powerful stretch for the legs, groins and chest. Bonus: Warrior II also helps relieve backaches and strengthen the muscles in the thighs and buttocks.
If you want great arms, push-ups are your solution. But this holiday workout of the day is good for more than that; push-ups also work your chest and abs. Intimidated by this challenging move? The great thing about push-ups is that if they prove too difficult, you can modify them.
If you’re still on cloud nine after mastering yesterday’s Christmas workout move, good! You should be proud. Reward yourself today with the Cat and Cow poses; two moves that warm your body and bring flexibility to the spine. Both are great stretches for the back torso and neck. They also open the chest, encouraging your breath to become slow and deep. Coordinating this movement with your breathing can relieve stress and calm the mind—something we all need this time of year!
OK, holiday workout warriors; it’s time to give yourself a serious pat on the back. You’ve been working hard to stick to your holiday workouts and by now, we bet it’s starting to show. Let’s keep the momentum going with this super effective move that engages your entire body. Hold the pose as long as you feel comfortable, then try again a few times throughout the day to see if you can increase your hold time with each attempt.
Congratulations! You’ve made it to the last day of our Christmas Workout Challenge. A simple and effective stretch that’s great for improving flexibility in your inner thighs, knees and spine, the butterfly pose is the perfect Christmas workout move to start your day. Engage in this relaxing and stress-reducing move first thing in the morning (before the happy chaos ensues) for a beautiful start to a beautiful holiday!