Short on time? Work out in short bursts

Want to avoid the average .5 kilos most people gain over the holiday season? In a December 3 news release, US health experts weigh in with workout and eating tips for staying fit during the holiday feeding frenzy. Advice: work out, a lot, in short bursts. And don't loiter near the food at parties.

While you may be trading in your workouts for gift shopping and late-night reveling, Michael Berry, US-based Wake Forest University health expert, recommends exercising in quick bursts to boost heart rate and metabolism throughout the day. Try taking (or running) the steps instead of the elevator or talking a brisk walk at lunchtime. Or opt for a five-minute walk every 30 minutes to burn some calories, he said in the release. Keep your body moving when you can, and increase your daily workouts by about 10 minutes to make up for holiday indulgences.

"There are a lot of different ways to try to increase your levels of physical activity in your daily routines," Berry said. "During the holidays, you may be taking in extra calories and having less time for exercise, so it's probably more important to add these types of activities daily. Remember, 500 calories can mean five miles [eight kilometers] of running."

Fellow Wake Forest University health expert Gary D. Miller also chimes in: think about your buffet strategy once you get to the party. "You won't want to overindulge, but you don't want to deny yourself, either," he said. "I'm all about living and having a good life, so keep things in moderation and don't skip the things that bring us so much pleasure this time of the year."

Dietician Ellen Michal of Duke University in the US recommends shaving off sugary, fatty drinks from your holiday routine - a large seasonal coffee drink adds as many as 400 calories to your diet. Also watch your alcohol intake at parties, which adds calories and increases your appetite. 

More healthy holiday tips:

1. Eat small, frequent meals and healthy snacks during the day to help avoid overeating at holiday parties.
2. If you overindulge at one meal, don't stress about it - just get back on track with your next meal.
3. Don't drink your calories. Try alternating water with alcoholic beverages.
4. Substitute - yogurt for cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise, and substitute herbs and spices for salt and fats. You can also add strained applesauce instead of butter or cooking oil when baking.
5. Eat smaller portions or use a smaller plate.

For more tips and advice: http://www.webmd.com/diet/healthy-holidays-8/default.htm

Wondering how much time on the treadmill that cookie will cost you? http://fitbottomedgirls.com/2010/12/how-far-you-have-to-run-to-burn-off-your-fave-winter-foods/

 

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