We're entering the festive holiday season of merrymaking – and that often means lots of eating and drinking. The challenge is figuring out how to enjoy ourselves during the holidays without putting on too many extra pounds.
One good way to combat holiday season weight gain is to get started now on a regular exercise program instead of waiting until the new year.
Getting started with an exercise program is often the hardest part, says Andrew Porter, DO, associate director of the Family Medicine Residency and assistant director of the Sports Medicine Fellowship for Via Christi.
Porter, who provides care primarily at the Family Medicine and Sports Medicine Clinics across the street from Ascension Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita, offers these tips for building your own exercise program:
- Start slow, and make a commitment to yourself to stick with regular exercise.
- To help get started, ask your physician to write you a prescription to exercise, specifying how many times a week you should work out.
- With your physician’s approval, set goals — start by walking on a treadmill 2-3 times a week, then gradually progress to jogging 3-4 times a week.
- Cross-training helps the body the most, so mix it up — run, bike, lift weights, swim, use an elliptical trainer, take aerobics classes or participate in group spinning classes.
- Pick activities you enjoy doing. Don’t make running a regular part of your routine if you dislike it so much you won’t be committed to doing it.
- Incorporate resistance or weight training into your workout, along with aerobics. But before beginning, get instruction in proper weight-lifting techniques. To prevent injury, lift smaller weights for higher repetitions.
- Join an aerobics class or go walking regularly with a friend. Having workout partners helps keep you focused on reaching your fitness goals.