Healthy Holidays Challenge: Make a Plan to Stay Active

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Don’t quit on your fitness goals for this year — or wait until January 1 to start new ones. Stay on track with these simple holiday fitness tips.

Senior woman running in the winter

The holidays have a way of throwing even the most dedicated health enthusiast off their game. Not this year! All month long, follow along as SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen unwraps our best tips for staying healthy, happy, and, yes, even calm during this busy time of year. Check in here and on our Facebook page for new activities to try. Here’s to your healthiest, happiest holiday season ever!

’Tis the season of staying fit, said no one ever. Busy schedules, holiday parties, and endless culinary temptations combine to make it especially difficult to stick to your fitness routine this time of year.

That’s where today’s challenge activity comes in:

Create Your Stay-Active Holiday Plan

On Day 1 of the Challenge, SilverSneakers LIVE trainer Shannon Thigpen introduced the idea of a fitness streak — making a promise to yourself to do at least 10 minutes of exercise and physical activity every day until New Year’s Eve.

Shannon suggests starting each day with a pen and paper. Write down everything you need to get done that day and how long you think each task will take. Include everything — from taking the car in for service to watching your favorite TV program.

Next, rank the items on your list from 1 to 10, based on how important it is to you. Items you mark as 1, 2, and 3 are pretty important, but take a closer look at those marked lower. Can you give some of those up to make room for a fitness class or a brisk walk?

“Another thing you can do is look for items on your list that can easily accommodate some exercise multitasking,” Shannon adds. For example, did you promise to make a side dish for the family gathering? Do some strength and balance exercises while your dish bakes.

“Remember, you’re only looking for 10 or 30 minutes to set aside for movement,” she adds. “Making that time for yourself is so worth it!”

For more inspiration, use these strategies to stay on track.

Get and stay fit with SilverSneakers! Choose from dozens of different Community classes, visit a participating fitness location, or view the current schedule of SilverSneakers LIVE online classes. Check your eligibility here. 

Stay-Fit Strategy #1: Remember Why You’re Doing It

When a client loses his or her motivation, corrective exercise specialist Kendra Fitzgerald prescribes a mental workout.

“I ask what’s motivating them to work out in the first place,” she says. “Whether you want to feel better, have more energy, be more productive at work, or age gracefully, it’s easier to commit the time and stick to it once you identify why you are working out.”

Need help finding your why? Fitness expert David Jack has some advice in the video below.

Stay-Fit Strategy #2: Start Small and Be Realistic

If your goal is to exercise daily, begin with one or two days a week. Pick days where you can easily fit it in. Add another day as each week goes by.

Even if you can’t get to your favorite SilverSneakers class or the gym, remember that 15 minutes of movement is better than no movement at all. Try one of our most popular workouts: these four essential exercises for older adults.

Stay-Fit Strategy #3: Picture Your Success

Write down your goal in a few simple words, and post it where you’ll see it every day. A visual reminder may strengthen your resolve. If you want to get back to your “fighting weight” of five years ago, put up a photo of yourself from that time. Or if you’re motivated by the ability to keep running, biking, or traveling, use a picture that reflects that.

Stay-Fit Strategy #4: Make It Mandatory

Time management is important for accomplishing any goal, and fitness is no exception. Even if it’s just 10 minutes, put it on your calendar. Call it your “feel better session,” and make that time nonnegotiable. You’ll boost your mood and health, and it will become a key part of your routine.

If you ever think you’re too busy to fit it in, try one of these quick workouts:

Stay-Fit Strategy #5: Track Your Progress Daily

Record your achievements daily or weekly: how many steps you walked, number of exercise reps, pounds lost, and so on. A pen and paper will work just fine, or you can schedule and log your workouts with the free SilverSneakers GO app (iOS and Android).

Stay-Fit Strategy #6: Recruit Someone to Hold You Accountable

Maintaining an ongoing schedule with the same person can help you stay accountable. You’ll want to hold up your part of the bargain.

Plus, you can get a great workout while having a great time. Think about it: The more fun your workouts are, the more you’re going to look forward to and be committed to them over the long term. And consistency and longevity are necessary for achieving your goals.

Even if you’re not going to the gym these days or it’s a bit too cold outside for your liking, you can still take advantage of the fitness buddy system with SilverSneakers LIVE classes. You can find a current schedule and RSVP for classes here.

Stay-Fit Strategy #7: Hold Yourself Accountable Too

Put your money where your mouth is: Pay a penalty for missing your workouts. Drop a dollar in a money jar, and then donate the dough to a favorite cause.

Stay-Fit Strategy #8: Savor Every Success

There’s no better feeling than finishing a challenging workout. Let the feeling of accomplishment wash over you, so that you’ll remember the feeling when it’s time for your next workout.

And make no mistake: This is a big deal! You’ve just rewarded yourself with better health this winter—and a happier, fuller, and potentially longer life.

Check Your SilverSneakers Eligibility Instantly

SilverSneakers members can go to thousands of gyms and fitness locations across the nation, plus take SilverSneakers LIVE online classes that are designed for seniors of all levels. If you have a Medicare plan, it may include SilverSneakers — at no additional cost. Check your eligibility instantly here.     

Not eligible for SilverSneakers? You can still get 200+ free SilverSneakers On-Demand videos and stay in touch with us by creating your online account 

The post Healthy Holidays Challenge: Make a Plan to Stay Active appeared first on SilverSneakers.

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