The holidays are in full swing—family and friends are dropping in, food is filling your belly and obligations are filling your schedule.
With everything going on, it can be hard to find time to maintain a fitness routine. Maybe you're buried in tinsel and cookie dough, or maybe you're still frantically searching for that perfect gift.
Well, worry no more.
If you can put in a few extra steps and increase your activity, your metabolism will benefit. Remember that small movements add up to big results.
Here are some simple tips to rev your metabolism:
Last in line
Your holiday schedule probably includes a party or two. One simple way to keep your intake in check is to wait for the last spot in line for food and drinks. Not only will you stand more, but this will give you more time to decide if that extra piece of cheesecake is really worth it.
The kitchen gym
You probably spend more time in the kitchen at this time of year than any other, so make the most of it. Every time you take something in or out of the dishwasher, do a squat. Putting a plate away? Try lunging to the cupboard. Instead of standing and watching as the timer on the microwave ticks down, try some high knee kicks or march in place. Small steps add up.
When you get time to work out, make the most of it. Engage more muscle by doing complex exercises. It's not about working harder, but smarter. Instead of doing just a bicep curl, turn it into more by adding a shoulder press. The more muscles you use, the more calories you burn.
Friends and family plan
Include others in your fitness routine. Take a walk outside, take the kids sledding or try a fitness class. Exercise is always more fun when you have someone to share it with.
Online shopping is fast, convenient and hassle-free, but it also doesn't take much energy to sit at a computer. Compare that to a power shopping trip at the mall—carrying bags, walking from store to store, looking for the best sale. The average trip to the mall will burn far more calories than surfing the web.
Stand and deliver
Sitting for too long slows down fat burning. Find things you can do standing instead of sitting—talking on the phone, folding laundry, wrapping presents. You can burn an extra 60 calories an hour with these simple changes and there's no special equipment required.
Feel the burn
Even short bouts of exercise can boost your metabolism. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park far away from the store so you can get in a brisk, five-minute walk.
Aim for convenience
Put some weights or resistance bands next to your favorite chair. When you're watching TV, pull them out and do a few reps. Not only will you tone up, you'll also boost your metabolism.
The fitness gift
New fitness apps and fitness equipment make great gifts and stocking stuffers. Consider asking for something fitness-related for yourself and your family.
Written by Kim Delafuente, Exercise Content Expert for the Healthier Communities Department Spectrum Health. Kim graduated from Michigan State University with a master's degree in Exercise Physiology and Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Health Fitness in Preventative and Rehabilitative Programs.
This article previously ran on spectrumhealthbeat.org.