The holiday season can be hard on your workout routine. The season tends to bring more social outings and more desserts and drinks than usual. It can also bring more stress due to perceived expectations, family friction, and a break of your normal routine. In short, the holiday season can be tough on your health, fitness, and well-being.
If you already workout regularly, the holidays can make you feel thrown off and either cause you to scrap the entire idea of a workout until after New Years’, or it can make you feel like you need to punish yourself with any workouts you do get in.
But inactivity ends up moving you further from your goals. And overdoing it in workouts is a fast track to developing aches, injuries, and disordered habits with exercise.
Conversely, if you don’t already workout regularly, the holidays can feel like an insurmountable mountain. “Why even bother getting started?”, you might think.
But if you’ve got goals of incorporating more healthful habits into your life, or getting fit and strong for the first time (or the 20th time) in your life, the longer you wait, the longer it takes.
Is Weight Training Or Cardio Better?
While both weight training and cardiovascular exercise are good for your health and fitness, the question is if one is better. Let’s take a look…
Weight training increases the strength of your muscles, connective tissues, and bones. This helps you become more physically capable. It also reduces your potential for injuries and boosts your metabolic rate (which influences your body composition and energy levels). And, it increases your confidence.
Cardiovascular exercise is important for the health of your heart, lungs, and the rest of your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It also influences the health of your mitochondria that live in your muscles. If you remember one thing about mitochondria, remember that they are known as “the powerhouse of the cell”. Without well-functioning mitochondria, your health suffers.
You won’t burn as many calories while doing weight training as you will while doing cardio… BUT, your metabolic rate will remain elevated for longer after your weight training session is over. And, building muscle helps you have a higher metabolic rate overall, which cardiovascular exercise does not do.
Is Walking Really Effective?
While walking may not look from the outside like it’s a great way to stay fit, it actually is an invaluable tool for maintaining health and fitness. And, it’s very accessible to any age range and requires no expertise or equipment aside from a pair of shoes.
While walking doesn’t burn as many calories due to its low-intensity nature, it provides benefits for your metabolism that you probably aren’t thinking of (but should be).
Leisure walking, has a positive impact on your NEAT metabolism. “NEAT” stands for Non-Exercise Associated Thermogenesis. It’s the energy expended for everything we do that is not sleeping, eating or sports-like exercise. It’s a small but impactful part of your overall metabolic rate.
How Can I Get Motivated To Workout
During The Holidays?
There is a common misconception about motivation, that it is what causes you to act. In fact, motivation more often arrives after you’ve already started taking action.
People often spend a lot of time thinking about the thing they want to do before they actually do it. And that thinking can become a form of procrastination because “if you don’t have all of the information before you get started, how will you know what to do once you get going?”
The fact is, you don’t need all of the information in order to take the first step or do the first workout.
This is yet another reason why I like pre-made workout programs for myself during the holidays. The program is already laid out, all I have to do is show up and follow directions. Even on days when I don’t feel like exercising, I still can show up and follow directions. Then, before I’ve had too much time to think about it, I’m already halfway through the workout and feeling proud that I am getting it done.