It`s that time of year when the temperatures and our own physical activity typically drops and the calories we consume often increase.
Dr. Dave Schramm, a specialist in families and relationships, says December is frequently the month when we sneak a few more treats into our diet and don`t get as much exercise as usual.
He says it doesn`t help that it gets darker earlier and it`s often cold outdoors, but exercise is quite literally some of the best medicine for us, not only improving our bodies but it changes brain function by altering the activity of key brain chemicals and hormones.
New research from Yale and Oxford shows that exercise is more important to your mental health than your economic status. They also found that people who exercise regularly tend to feel bad for 35 days a year, while inactive people feel bad on average for 53 days per year.
Here are some ways you can keep moving during the holidays and cold months:
- Increase your everyday housework, taking care of children, and movement indoors
- Stand up when you talk/text on your phone or read a book
- Exercise during commercials, while cooking, and other down-times
- Get more sleep and drink water throughout the day
- Park away from the mall/stores and walk
- Get outdoors when you can, take a walk with a friend/child, walk the dog, get some sunshine on sunny days
- Try a new outdoor sport: skiing, snowshoeing, or skate with the kids
- Take your exercise routine indoors: swimming, a gym pass, walking laps on a track
- Exercise indoors: get a mat for core exercise and yoga, turn on the music
Schramm says the most important thing to remember is "Don`t let your health take a holiday! Commit to staying active, even if you need to be creative."