The Easiest Ways To Stay Active Throughout The Holidays, According To Experts

There are so many fun things to do during the holiday season. By that, of course, I mean gingerbread cookies to bake and eat, presents to wrap in glittery paper, and Elf to watch approximately 100 times in the span of one month. If you're lucky, you might even get to catch a marathon nap beneath a pile of your coziest blankets. The holidays are definitely a time to relax and celebrate, but if you've just emerged from a mega sleep, you might want to shake things up and expend some energy. Knowing how to stay active during the holidays doesn't have to mean long weightlifting sessions at the gym (unless, of course, that's your thing). Plenty of festive activities can get your heart pumping while keeping you firmly immersed in the holiday spirit.

Whether you intend to keep up your normal fitness routine, or you want to keep things more low-key, there's no need to feel guilty about choosing celebrations over a workout. If you've been invited to an ugly Christmas sweater party on a night you were planning on working out, it's really no big deal to take it easy, says Robert Herbst, a personal trainer, wellness coach, and champion powerlifter. In fact, he tells Elite Daily in an email, doing so will probably give your mind a nice break so that you can enjoy socializing and feel rejuvenated after the fact.

It can also be useful to consciously counter the idea that a workout has to be "intense" for it to "count," says Jumaah Goldberg, a physical therapy and fitness expert. "Got three minutes to spare as you're waiting for some sauce to heat up? See how many burpees you can do during that time," she suggests. The truth is, she tells Elite Daily, it doesn't really matter what you do or for how long; rather, she says it's the fact that you're using your time as best as you can that really matters.

For those times when you're on a sugar high and ready to get rid of some extra energy, here are some fun ways to get moving.

Go in search of Christmas light displays

You may have to take a trip to the suburbs for this one, but the more extravagant the light display, the more fun, in my opinion. "If you enjoy a drive through neighborhoods to admire impressive decorations, park at the end of a street and enjoy the views on foot," suggests Evan Renfroe, a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist. "Walking isn't incredibly strenuous, so it's still an enjoyable process."

Shovel snow for a neighbor

Depending on how much snow accumulates in your city, you might be able to do a good deed and get your heart rate up at the same time. Try braving the cold and shoveling a neighbor's sidewalk, suggests Vince Sant, co-founder and lead trainer at V Shred, an online training platform. "Shoveling snow is actually a great workout for those who do not have heart or back conditions," he tells Elite Daily. Plus, you might even get invited inside afterward for some yummy, hot apple cider.

Turn shopping into a workout

As Dec. 25 approaches, so does the frenzy to grab last-minute presents. With a few small tweaks, you can turn a trip to the mall into an activity that gets your blood pumping. "Walking around the mall before it opens is a great idea," says plant-based health coach and yoga teacher, Lauren Larry. "You get to scope out the deals first and you get primo parking." If you want to up your step count even more, park a little further away from the entrance than you usually do.

Have a snowball fight with friends

If you want to just burrow into your couch and hibernate until spring, same. But for those days when you're craving a little healthy movement, try making it a group activity, Renfroe suggests. "When we 'gamify' activity, it can feel less like a chore," he tells Elite Daily.

Do some volunteer work

"Volunteering is a wonderful way to get a workout into your holiday traditions," says Holmes. "Soup kitchens need organizing, charities need people to carry toys, and sometimes 5Ks need runners and volunteers to help out."

Go Christmas caroling

If you've really gotten into the holiday baking spirit this year, make an extra batch and drop off some treats around the neighborhood. "Bundle up and walk around your block to sing carols," suggests Allen Michael, editor of the online workout guide Simple Fitness Hub. If you live in an apartment building, you can always walk to some of your favorite nearby shops or bodegas to deliver holiday cheer and goodies.

Tidy up for a holiday party

Getting active doesn't have to mean leaving your apartment. If you want to stay as close as possible to your radiator, pre-holiday party housework, like mopping and vacuuming, can really count as exercise if you put your heart into it, says health and fitness expert Chris Collins. For extra motivation, throw on an upbeat Christmas music playlist and sing along.