Practice these five exercises to combat the stress of the holidays

(CNN) — Whether it’s the pressure of social demands or more physical causes like lack of sleep, it’s normal to feel stressed and overwhelmed by added chores during the holidays. However, there are ways to integrate exercise into our daily lives without adding stress or anxiety.

If you tend to skip workouts during the holidays, you’re not alone. Research suggests that Americans tend to turn to food and drink during the holidays. A CNN poll in December 2014 found that 62% say they “indulge and eat what they want” during the holiday season, and a CBS News poll in December 2017 found that 20% of adults say who drinks more alcoholic beverages during the season. Even thinking about exercising can seem stressful during a time when we are so busy.

Instead of stressing about exercising, try these moves while doing your Christmas activities. That way, when you’re done with whatever you’re doing – shopping, hanging out with friends, doing your laundry – you can sit back, relax, and feel fulfilled.

Every move can be done at home, and some can even be done in public without anyone noticing. Try one or all of these five ways to turn your homework into a quick but effective workout.

Calf raises in the kitchen

Calf raises are so easy, making them the perfect move to practice in the kitchen when you can’t even think of exercising. All you have to do is stand with your feet hip-width apart and lift your heels off the ground by pressing on your toes.

Shift your weight up and down, squeezing your calves as you go. Repeat 10 times.

This move can be done between any kitchen chores, so try doing a couple of sets. Did you just put something in the microwave and have to wait for it to be ready? Do 10 calf raises.

Standing push-ups while baking cookies

Over-the-counter push-ups are a great way to incorporate an upper body workout while baking your Christmas cookies. Place your hands on the edge of the kitchen counter and bend over so that your feet are firmly behind you.

exercise holidays

Bend your elbows, bringing your upper body closer to the bar, press and straighten your arms. Repeat 10 times.

When you have a couple of minutes of inactivity in the kitchen, take advantage of that time. Put the cookie sheet in the oven, lean on the kitchen counter and get moving before the oven alarm goes off.

If you only have time to do one exercise each day, try this 2:30

Squats while doing laundry

Doing laundry can become a mundane part of everyday life. However, you can enliven this chore by exercising at the same time. Whether you’re loading the washing machine, folding clothes, or carrying the laundry basket up the stairs, take a moment to do some squats.

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and extend your arms in front of you.

Bend at the hips and knees and make sure to keep your feet firmly on the ground.

Try to bring your thighs parallel to the floor and bring your glutes back. Press down with your heels to straighten your legs and return to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.

Standing abdominal pulsations

Standing abs exercises are easy and go unnoticed by the people around you. Being in public doesn’t have to stop you from exercising. If you’re at a party with friends, shopping, or running errands, pause for a minute and perform 10 standing crunches. If you do it a few times a day, you will be exercising without having to dedicate extra time.

Simply squeeze your abs in a pulsing motion, making sure to engage your abs with each movement.
Imagine someone punches you in the stomach and you walk away from the punch. Repeat 10 times.

Buttock stretch while sitting at the table

The next time you’re sitting at the table for a festive meal or dinner, you can stretch your glutes under the table without anyone noticing.

Sit in a chair with your feet on the floor. Cross your right ankle over your left thigh, bending your knee so that your right ankle rests on your left thigh.

exercise holidays

Lean forward gently and hold for 30 seconds before repeating the operation with the other leg.

Mindfulness and awareness of your body increase the more you incorporate stretching and exercise into your daily life. Enjoy the holidays while helping your body feel good.

– Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up With Steph” on PBS, is a health and wellness journalist and women’s weight loss coach and coach.


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