Get Rid of Holiday Weight Gain With These Exercises, Expert Says

“I love the holidays, all the treats, and the extra weight it brings on,” said nobody—ever! But that doesn’t change the fact that it all happens pretty easily. So relax and have a holly jolly holiday, because we’re prepared with the best exercises to get rid of holiday weight gain fast, according to an expert.

We spoke with Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM the Director of Medical Content & Education at Ro and a member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board, to learn how to work off that holiday weight fast. He explains, “There’s no magic secret to losing holiday weight versus losing weight at any other time of the year. Instead, whatever has historically worked for you is what you should do following (or even during) the holidays.”

Sure, after a month of holiday parties, family dinners, hot cocoa, eggnog, and sugar cookies, you may feel you’re rolling into January—quite literally. When you’re ready to burn off those excess calories, there are some productive high-calorie-burning exercises that will help get you back into shape after the season passes. Keep reading to learn more.

Do aerobic exercises.

woman running in the snow to get rid of holiday weight gain

An excellent way to burn away extra weight is with aerobic exercises. Dr. Bohl says, “In the winter months, it may be more difficult to go outside for a long run, but using cardio machines like a stationary bike or stair stepper can get your heart rate up and can work out your leg muscles (the largest muscles in the body).”

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Swim some laps.

Swimming laps in an indoor pool is pure fire when it comes to performing a strong, full-body workout. Dr. Bohl says the activity burns between 300 to 700 calories per hour, based on your stroke. So, everybody in the pool!

Perform strength training.

Strength training means circuit training to burn a ton of calories. Circuit training involves switching up from one exercise to the next in a circuit fashion. The key is not taking much of a break in between each set. This course will keep your heart rate up while you benefit from a full-body workout in a condensed time span.

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Engage in other full-body exercises.

Additional full-body exercises that are beneficial to torching more calories include closed-chain exercises. Examples are lunges, pull-ups, push-ups, and squats. Doing any of these will activate various muscle groups simultaneously. You’ll benefit from burning calories while exercising and long after, notes Dr. Bohl.

Have fun with winter sports.

active couple snowshoeing to get rid of holiday weight gain

Last but not least, winter sports are an excellent and fun way to get rid of holiday weight gain while enjoying family time. Plan snowshoeing, ice skating, hiking, or skiing to burn some serious calories. It won’t even feel like work; you’ll just be having a blast!

Dr. Bohl gives a bit of inspirational advice since he knows it’s difficult staying dedicated to a workout routine throughout the holidays. The season may mean being away from your gym or home equipment. It’s common to have less time to work out since you may be spending more time with friends and family. Lastly, it’s likely you’re eating more food than normal.

“While your brain knows circumstances are different, your body doesn’t. If you eat too much, your body will store the excess as fat. And if you stop working out, your body will slowly lose muscle mass,” says Dr. Bohl, adding, “The combination of these can make it extra hard to get back to your usual routine when January comes around, putting you one step behind any fitness-related New Year’s resolutions you tried to make. So—with all of the changes and travel during the holidays—it might be okay to stop actively trying to grow muscle or improve your performance. However, it is still important to keep up a maintenance routine through the holiday season, so you can pick back up where you left off after the holidays and don’t feel like you lost too much (or any) of what you had gained through the rest of the year.”

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa

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