If New Year's resolutions are any indication, many of us are neglecting our workout regimens as the year winds down. While some reasons to cut back or skip a workout are valid, clinging to too many workout excuses will only make it that much harder to whip yourself back into shape come January. Don't let that be you — check out our solutions to five excuses you just may have been making this holiday season!
- I don't have any time: We know — it's hard to fit in a workout when you've got to make a list, check it twice, and then madly dash from store to store to finish it. Gift giving and holiday cheer can be fun but exhausting, so it's no wonder that your workout is often the first to go out the window when time is tight.
Solution: There's no need to look at your workout as an all-or-nothing event. Instead, aim for at least 20 minutes a day, no matter how you split it up, and then commit to a few minutes here and there throughout your day. It can be as easy as doing 10 minutes of a workout DVD before you shower in the morning or going for a brisk walk at lunch. Changing your way of thinking of a workout from a block of time in your day to a running tally will help you burn more calories throughout the season.
- It's too cold out: Cold, dark Winter evenings aren't very welcoming to outdoor exercisers. And if you don't belong to a gym, that uninviting environment can sabotage your cardio plans.
Solution: 'Tis the season to finally convince yourself to wake up in the morning to work out. It saves you time — since you'll get it over and done with and be able to go on with your day — and running or biking outside in the daylight can motivate you more. Make sure you dress the part with our tips for dressing for Winter workouts so you stay comfortable. If going outside is just not an option, try one of our equipment-free indoor cardio workouts you can do anywhere.
- I'll just start in January: Merriment abounds this month, so this routine may sound familiar — indulge throughout the month, feel guilty, and vow to get back in shape in the New Year. But another part of the puzzle is just as familiar for many — that inevitable point in January or February when resolutions become a distant memory and we revert back to old habits.
Solution: Get a head start with your fitness routine now, and you'll be more likely to stick with it. Not only will just a few minutes of exercise a day this month help you enjoy all the indulgent holiday offerings without feeling guilty, but you'll develop the skills you need to reconcile working out with your lifestyle when times get busy next year. Don't know where to start? No matter what your exercise of choice, check out our beginner fitness tips to get started.
Read on for the rest of the list.
- I'm too tired: "Sleep-deprived" is how many describe themselves this month, and with Christmas gift-shopping deadlines approaching and fun fetes to attend, getting a full night's rest seems like it may just be out of reach for a few weeks yet. When it comes time to choose between getting a few more minutes of sleep or hitting the gym, therefore, the choice of bed over working on your brawn is simple.
Solution: Many times, the way to get over the fact that you're too tired to exercise is to just go and exercise. Not only does exercise energize you, but regularly exercising can help you get a good night's rest if you're wasting valuable bedtime trying to get to sleep. Trying to motivate yourself to work out when you can't get off the couch? Enlist the help of a workout buddy to coax you out, or sign up and prepay for a class you can't miss.
- I'm sick: Stress and crowds make Winter a prime season for catching a cold, so chances are that dealing with sniffles is part of your holiday routine. It's not that feeling sick isn't a legitimate excuse to skip a workout, but many times exercising when you have the common cold can make you feel better.
The solution: If you're feeling a little bit under the weather (as in, you've only got "above-the-neck" symptoms), don't convince yourself to cancel a workout; instead, go at a lower intensity than you're used to or pick something low impact instead. Aim for exercising at half your regular intensity, and slowly ramp up as you feel better. Working out will actually make you feel better, as long as you take care to not push yourself too much. If you've got chest congestion, achiness, a fever, or nausea, however, forgo the sweat session altogether.