We blinked and Halloween is over.  It’s officially THE HOLIDAYS!  Radio stations all over Charleston & Mount Pleasant are playing Christmas music, Target has blissfully replaced pumpkins for holiday lights & Hanukah gifts and holiday parties are starting to pock your calendar.  Thanksgiving is a MERE TWO WEEKS AWAY!!!  With that in mind, we’ve decided to help you prepare for your (increasingly longer every year) holiday season by giving you some PRE-HOLIDAY Fitness Tips designed to keep you on your fitness track!

Pre-Holiday Fitness Tip #1: Schedule your Workouts

According to WebMD, “Take an honest look at your schedule and instead of trying to squeeze exercise into your schedule, take other things out,” lifestyle coach April Masini suggests. “The goal is not to do more (as we all have a tendency to do this time of year), but to do less, but do it all well.”  The article continues by quoting Rich Ray, chairman of the Kinesiology Department at Hope College in Holland, Mich: “It’s also important to keep fitness a priority in your schedule.  Whether or not you already have well-established exercise habits, make sure you actually schedule time into your day for your exercise.”

Pre-Holiday Fitness Tip #2: Remember That It’s Not All or Nothing

Muscle and Fitness recommends remembering to keep things in perspective.  A workout is supposed to help alleviate stress, not create more.  With that in mind, they recommend that you “Don’t over-obsess about your fitness and nutrition during the holidays; if you miss a training session or a meal, get back on track with the next scheduled item and make a mental note to do better next time-but stressing over it won’t help.”

Pre-Holiday Fitness Tip #3: Don’t Let Sweet Gifts Get You

Creator of Stroller Strides Lisa Druxman explains on Active that staying healthy doesn’t mean staying out of the kitchen.   “Do you make baked goods for giving? Chances are you eat much of what you bake. Who wouldn’t? Instead make non-food gifts, or prepare ingredients for baked goods and put them in pretty jars–let your gift recipient bake it up. That way, they can eat it when they want it and you don’t have to be tempted in the kitchen.”

Pre-Holiday Fitness Tip #4: Say NO to Salt

Whether its a planned night out or just because you’re too tired to cook, the holidays mean going out to dinner—a lot.  You may be versed in picking “healthy” dishes that contain more veggies and protein, but it turns out that even the low-fat options at some of our favorite restaurants have HIGH sodium.  Why is that bad?  According to Live Science, who consulted Rachel Johnson, professor of nutrition at the University of Vermont in Burlington, “The amount of salt that is available today, just like the amount of sugar that is available today, is far beyond what we were meant to have in our diets. Excess sodium increases blood pressure because it holds excess fluid in the body, and that creates an added burden on the heart. Too much sodium will increase your risk of stroke, heart failure, osteoporosis, stomach cancer and kidney disease. And, 1 in 3 Americans will develop high blood pressure in their lifetime.”  YIKES!

With that in mind, The Today Show published a list compiled by Eat This, Not That! of “dishes from popular restaurant chains that each have more than 4,000 milligrams of sodium — nearly twice your recommended daily amount.”  Dishes included seemingly healthy options like Bonefish Grill’s Ahi Tuna Poke (which packed in over 6,700 mg of sodium!!!).  To see more results click HERE.  When you order out, make sure to avoid adding extra salt and go for ingredients that are FRESH and LOCAL as much as possible.

Pre-Holiday Fitness Tip #5: Take Fitness With You on the Road

Even if you’re away from home (and DUFF), you can still workout!  USA Today advises: “If you’re staying in a hotel, use the swimming pool or the exercise room. If you’re staying with family or friends, invite them along for a walk after lunch or take some time for ice skating or cross-country skiing. If you’re vacationing in warmer climates, take a lengthy walk on the beach or go for a jog early in the morning.”  And be sure to pack your running shoes!