The holiday season is here—and for many, that means it’s time for holiday vacation. Holiday vacation is a great time to connect with friends and family, enjoy your favorite holiday foods, and get in as much relaxation as you can before 2022. But if you want to head into the New Year feeling your best, you’re going to want to add “get plenty of exercise” to your holiday vacation to-do list.
Luckily, you don’t have to commit to hours at the gym to keep your exercise routine going strong during your holiday vacation. Targeted workouts are a great way to get the exercise you need, no matter where you’re celebrating the holidays—and how much time you have to dedicate to your workout.
So, what are some workouts you’ll want to work into your holiday schedule—so you can not only enjoy your holiday vacation, but enter the New Year feeling healthy, happy, and strong?
Make the most out of a short workout with HIIT training
For many people, holiday vacations are packed with fun holiday activities, which doesn’t leave much time for workouts. Luckily, there’s a way to get plenty of bang for your exercise buck—and that’s high intensity interval training (more commonly known as HIIT).
“One of the best workouts people can do is HIIT,” says Kristie Alicea, CPT and co-founder of ABC Fit Collective. “It’s the most efficient workout because it doesn’t have to take up a lot of time and you’re getting a great calorie burn.”
To knock out an effective, heart-pumping workout, Alicea recommends the following circuit:
- 30 jumping jacks
- 30 squat jumps
- 30 mountain climbers
- 30 skater lunges
- 30 high knees
Once you complete a full set, repeat three to five times—then drink some water and get back to enjoying your holiday vacation.
Get your strength on
Depending on where you are for your holiday vacation, you may or may not have access to weights. But “if you do have access to weights…[like] dumbbells or kettlebells, full body compound strength workouts—such as squat to press, deadlifts with rows, [or] reverse lunge to bicep curl—will be super beneficial in having you feel good and burn calories,” says Alicea.
If you have weights at your disposal during your holiday break (or can make it to a gym), carve out a few sessions each week for weight training, and focus on exercises that target different areas of the body with a single move. As Alicea mentioned, compound exercises will help you make the most out of even a short workout.
And the best part? You’ll enjoy the benefits of those short strength training sessions long after curled up next to the fire and poured yourself an eggnog. “The beauty of strength training is you continue to burn calories even after your workout is complete,” says Alicea.
Work your core
A strong core is an essential part of a strong body. And luckily, working your core doesn’t take too much time—making it the perfect targeted workout for your holiday vacation.
Look for small pockets of time in between fun holiday activities, and use those pockets to squeeze in core exercises throughout the day. For example, spending the day baking holiday cookies? Every time you take a batch out of the oven, do an ab circuit (for example, 10 sit-ups, 10 sitting twists, 20 bicycle crunches, and 20 seconds of flutter kicks). Decorating the tree? Do a 30-second (or, if you’re feeling strong, full minute!) plank every time you hang a red or green ornament on the tree.
The point is, if you work in core exercises throughout the day, by the time you go to sleep, you’ll have gotten in a full, targeted ab workout—and will end your holiday vacation with a stronger core than you started with.
Tips to help make your workouts more festive
These targeted workouts are a great way to get your exercise in during your holiday vacation. But if you want to not only workout during your holiday vacation, but make those workouts feel as festive as possible? Here are a few tips to work the holidays into your workouts:
- Pop on a holiday playlist during your workout. If you want your workouts to feel festive and on theme for the holiday? Turn up those holiday tunes. “Using holiday music playlists can make the workout feel more in the spirit [of the season],” says NASM certified personal trainer Heather Carroll.
- Rock some holiday workout gear. Wearing holiday-themed workout gear is another great way to get in the spirit of the holiday. “Even a holiday headband or a hat—I took a red ball cap and added reindeer antlers with bells!—makes it seem more fun,” says Carroll.
- Get your loved ones in on the fun. Holidays are all about spending time with the people you love—so why not get the people you love involved in your workouts? “Asking family or friends to join in the holiday workout cheer can create a fun and inspiring atmosphere,” says Carroll.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.