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The holidays are meant to be a season where families gather and share special time in reflection on their lives and faith. However, the holidays have also become a source of increased stress for most, if not all Americans. Busy social schedules, the tasks of entertaining, shopping, and the traditions of mailing cards and decorating can leave us feeling worn out by January 2.
However, exercise can be a great antidote for stress during the holidays. Exercise burns off many of the stress hormones generated when we are anxious or feeling pressure. Excessive amounts of stress can lead to high blood pressure, increased blood sugar, weight gain, lack of sleep, and even memory loss. When we work out, we are literally burning off the hormones that cause these effects. With exercise, we feel more relaxed, restful, and even more productive.
As little as a ten minute walk can do wonders to calm the spirit. If you anticipate a particularly stressful day, it may be wise to exercise in the early morning before the action of the day begins. Weightlifting is especially beneficial and has been shown to have the equivalent calming effect as Valium. As an added bonus, holiday exercise will do much to prevent the ever present weight gain most experience after too many office parties, elaborate meals, and extra alcohol consumption.
Remember, just a few minutes of exercise can make a big difference in stress levels and weight gain during the holidays..