10 Ways to Squeeze in Exercise During the Holidays

Between running around to pick up gifts and making sure the kids are ready for the school Christmas play, December is a busy month. Don't let a jam-packed holiday schedule keep you from staying active this winter. Our expert fitness trainer and health coach, La Niecia Vicknair, shares 10 easy ways to sneak in a workout this holiday season.

Nicole Marie Cato Oct, 24, 2015

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While it's tempting to grab all your Christmas gifts online, visiting the mall is an easy way to stay active during the holidays. "Park far away from the entrance to squeeze in extra steps," says La Niecia Vicknair, an LA-based personal trainer and health coach. " You can also walk a lap around the mall to window shop and spot out deals before you begin your actual shopping."  The same goes for grocery shopping, too.  Put something heavy in your cart, such as a 24-pack of water, and go for walk up and down the aisles to burn extra calories.

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Speaking of heading to the mall, if there's an option to take the stairs, go for it!  Stair climbing is a great lower body workout to help you blast calories without even realizing it.  Just be sure to shop in comfy shoes, ladies!

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With Christmas and New Year's Eve party invites flooding your inbox, it's a great time to dust off those dance moves and burn some calories while you're at it. "Dancing is one of the best forms of cardio and you get to have fun while doing it," says Vicknair.

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For all you ladies up north, you know how much work goes into shoveling the snow. Instead of letting your hubby or friendly neighbor go at it alone, grab a shovel and pitch in to help. "Snow shoveling is a perfect total body workout, but proper technique is key. Do not bend forward at the waist or pick up snow with just your arms. Keep your spine straight to avoid injury," advises Vicknair.

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Cooking can be an all-day task, but there are a few items in your kitchen that can help you pass the time while burning calories, too.  "Use a gallon jug of water to do quick arm curls while waiting for your food to cook," says Vicknair.  " You can also grab a dinning room chair and do some squats or tricep dips while you wait for the oven to pre-heat or for a pot of water to boil."

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If your girlfriends have a ton of errands to run in preparation for Christmas dinner, tell them to drop the kids at your house for a game night.  Children have a ton of energy and chasing them around the house for an hour or two is sure to be a workout.  Break out the Wii and play an interactive video game or turn on some high-energy music and join the kiddos for a dance party!

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There are leaves on the ground and the snow is on its way, which makes for a great excuse to get active in your own backyard.  Bring the kids along and play a game of chase or catch to add even more calorie-buring power to your outdoor tasks.

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The winter months are full of activities that can be fun for the whole family. "Get your family to stay active during the holidays by going ice skating, bowling, building a snowman or having a snowball fight," says Vicknair. You'll create lasting memories and burn a ton of calories in the process.

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A pedometer is a small device that tracks how many steps you take per day.  It can be worn on the waistband or wrist and also track your calories burned.  "My clients love using pedometers to measure their daily steps.  Aim for 10,000 steps daily, which is the benchmark for optimal activity," says Vicknair.  A few ways to add more steps into your day?  Take the stairs instead of the elevator, use the restroom that's furthest from your office cubicle, or set a timer that reminds you to take 100 steps in place every hour.

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La Niecia Vicknair, aka Coach LaLa V, is a certified personal trainer and health coach. Her specialty is working with clients nationwide through interactive online and video training tools.  You can connect with Coach LaLa V via her website, Facebook, and Instagram.