The Holidays Are Upon US!! -- Do You Feel the Stress???

Posted by Beth Hartman

Ok, we know you have been spending a lot of time gearing up for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Well it is almost here. And guess what, right after Thanksgiving, which is usually a time for traveling and getting back in touch with extended family and friends comes the Christmas holiday. And everything starts all over again, but this time the added stress of what to buy everyone on your list is also leading the charge of things you need to do.

Do yourself a favor and take a time out for yourself! It is a known fact that participating in regular exercise can help relieve the daily stress that creeps into our lives. Stress is one element that can just about ruin anyone’s day. You can go from being in a good mood, ready to tackle the day to having a few unexpected events crop up that can take your day from good to bad.

If you’re not working out daily and by working out, we mean getting your body active and moving so that your muscles are feeling the resistance. The best way to start a training regimen if you’re not already doing so, is by taking a class.

While it can be difficult to find the courage to take an exercise class, especially if you haven't worked out in a while, doing so can be enjoyable -- and motivate you to push yourself harder than you would exercising alone.

Recruit a Friend

Recruiting a friend to take a class with you for moral support may make you more likely to go to the class. Meeting a friend at class makes you accountable for showing up, so you'll be less likely to miss class. Choose someone who is a regular exerciser and who won't be okay with skipping class when they've made the commitment to you.

Get a Health Coach

Finding a health coach significantly increases your chance of going to an exercise class and working out more regularly. A study published in 2010 in The Diabetes Educator found that study subjects who received 30-minute health coaching sessions over the phone fourteen times during a 6-month period reported increased exercise frequency compared with subject who did not receive the health coaching sessions.

Choose a Class You Enjoy

Dreading your exercise class means you probably won't stick with it very long. A variety of classes are available in gyms and studios, so look for one that you enjoy. Try step aerobics, water aerobics, spinning, zumba, pilates, yoga, kickboxing or boot camp.

While you might be deterred by expensive studio classes that charge a high monthly membership fee, finding more affordable options may embolden you to take a class. If you're already paying for a gym membership, which may run you between $25 and $50 per month, the exercises classes offered there are almost always available at no additional cost. Look into boot camps offered by personal trainers in your area, or local running groups available to you for free or just a small fee.

Change It Up

Participating in the same exercise class all the time can be monotonous, and can lead to overtraining if you're working the same muscle groups time after time. You're more likely to keep going to classes if you change things up regularly. Alternate between running groups, pilates or yoga classes, spinning, water or step aerobics, kickboxing, and zumba classes to keep you feeling energized, prevent boredom and make you excited about going to class.

No matter what you decide to do or who to do it with, take the opportunity to keep track of your progress and measure gains by using a monitoring device. Depending on the type of physical training you decide to do, the device can be as simple as a pedometer, to an activity monitor (recommended), like the Polar M400, to an activity monitor that also monitors your heart, as in the Polar M400 with Heart Rate Monitor.

Remember, starting an exercise regimen and keeping with it usually takes about 3 – 4 weeks. After that time frame it starts to become part of your lifestyle. Don’t let the stress of the upcoming holiday season spoil all the fun you could be having. Keep things in perspective and use this time of year to begin a resolution to work out and keep your stress levels in check.

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