During the holidays, it’s dangerously tempting to throw all your constructive routines out the door due to a lack of time and dedication.

Between delicious foods, lavish gifts and cross-country travels, it can be difficult to stay active while dealing with impending obligations. Even more tantalizing is the promise that you can simply start all over again once the New Year arrives! As a result, finding the time to exercise becomes delayed or overlooked altogether…

Well, not this year! New Year’s Day is right around the corner, and we’re determined to make the most of our remaining time. Exercise can be a valuable tool to get you through the distinct challenges of the season if given the chance. We have come up with 7 smart strategies, tips and tricks to make family fitness an integral part of the celebration all holiday season long. Read on to learn how to keep your loved ones in tip-top shape this winter!

1. Get out there and get active

It is hard to beat the feeling of a nice cozy blanket and a delicious mug of hot chocolate. However, it probably won’t help you out much in the fitness department… Instead of baking cookies or playing board games, alternate those activities with an active pursuit like going on a walk through the neighborhood, riding your bike to the store, hitting the sports field at a nearby park, or any other pursuit that gets you moving!

2. Set a challenge or goal

Create your own challenge, whether it involves trying new types of exercise every day, testing out different activities, or experimenting with an unfamiliar workout. Then, set a specific and tangible goal to accomplish during the holiday season. The countdown to the New Year leaves a perfect amount of time to pursue a new activity, learn a new sport, or master a current fitness routine. Regardless, make an effort to achieve a fitness goal that strikes your interest!

3. Make it official and maintain structure

Sign up for a race, competition, or fitness based activity like a hiking or biking trip in January/February so that you may have a good reason (and plenty of motivation) to stay in shape over the holidays! One of the main culprits associated with stress, depression and weight gain stems from a breakdown of structure within daily routines. Maintaining a semblance of an exercise schedule helps provide structure to your day. The routine will help provide you with a framework so that you may prioritize fitness with the demands of the season.

4. Don’t forgot to include everybody

Rolling out of bed for an early morning workout is much harder to avoid when someone else is counting on you! Enlist the help of a fitness-minded friend or family member to be your holiday exercise buddy. Encourage each other to lace up the sneakers for pre-dinner workouts and post-shopping trip runs. Working out can often be a solitary activity, which may explain why many people skip the gym when friends and family are in town. Make it a group activity by inviting visitors to join you at the gym or your favorite outdoor activity.

5. Start a fitness tradition

There are an abundance of family-friendly holiday themed fitness events in most areas. Sign up the gang for a fitness event or day camp. Hit the local park (Sweet Water Wetlands, Kanapaha Botanical Gardens or Depot Park) for a walk or jog with a view. Get outside and bond over a shared activity—it can be a sport, hobby or anything that encourages getting that heart rate up! Before you know it, taking the time to schedule an annual outing will become a family tradition.

6. Act like a kid

Childhood winter favorites like sledding, snowball fights and ice-skating are great way to get the heart pumping. If you are traveling to an area with these amenities, take advantage of the opportunity! Although Florida may not be the typical ‘Winter Wonderland’, you can still head outside and improvise for a fun and invigorating workout. Gather the family to play a game of tag, organize a game of soccer, basketball or touch football, or find your own creative way to get your loved ones off of their behind!

7. Forget about the holiday stress

There are no shortage of stressors over the holiday season—shopping for gifts, increased food preparation, frequent visitors and managing finances can all lead to increased anxiety. Taking the time to exercise promotes the release of hormones that can improve mood and reduce feelings of angst. This will leave both you and all of those around you in a much happier state, leaving room for celebration and cheer!


Happy Holidays from the Sun Country Family to you!