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Time-saving fitness tips for the holidays

Emily M. White is a freelance writer based out of New York City who specializes in writing about lifestyle and women's issues.

Holiday fitness tips

Regardless of the craziness that ensues at the year's end, fitting in fitness needs to stay a top priority even if you do have a Christmas shopping and decorating agenda to fill. Instead of gliding over the holidays and setting exercise aside as a New Year's resolution, be proactive and fit in fitness while you shop, cook or decorate. ‘Tis the season to work out smarter, not necessarily harder. Here's how.

Woman climbing stairs in winter

Time-saving workout tips

Fitness expert Lynn Bode, founding president of WorkoutsForYou.com, WorkoutsForMoms.com, and TrainerForce.com, shares her top fitness tips keep fitness on your to-do list along with your holiday agenda.

Accumulate exercise

According to Bode, it's important to remember that cumulative fitness -- doing smaller workouts in a day instead of one long session -- offers close to the same benefits as continuous exercise. It varies based on what type of exercise you are engaged in, but it is definitely a benefit to take advantage of, especially since it gives you the flexibility to fit exercise in whenever possible.

Pass time efficiently

Standing around waiting for a pot to boil or cookies to bake? Use the time to exercise. You can get in a quick yet effective strength-training workout in only five to 10 minutes (that's about the time it takes for a batch of cookies to bake). Do a set or two of exercises to work your major muscle groups using dumbbells, resistance bands or just your body weight. Exercises that only use your body weight can be done anywhere; try push-ups on the floor or against the wall, squats, lunges, crunches, tricep dips, simulated punching bag or your favorite Pilates moves. You can also perform exercises on a fitness ball to increase your fitness benefits even further by creating an unstable environment that makes the exercise more challenging, says Bode.

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Exercise at home

We've heard of "home spa" days, why not "home gym" days? If you don't have the time, forgo the gym for a day and you'll be more inclined to follow through on your exercise commitment if you don't have to drive somewhere to do your workout, suggests Bode. "Plus, you won't waste any time on traffic, parking, the locker room or waiting to use equipment," adds the fitness expert.

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Steer clear of the elevator

If you've got a flight of stairs in your home or nearby, then you have an instant, inexpensive piece of fitness equipment. Bode says simply walking up a flight of stairs and back down, even at a slow pace, and repeating that sequence for just five to 10 minutes will give you a very effective cardio workout as well as tone your lower body. Walk up the steps of the escalator while shopping at the mall, or take the stairs when returning back to your car in a parking garage.

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Pack snacks

When running errands or shopping, Bode suggests keeping healthy snacks conveniently on-hand. Then, after you work up a big appetite, you won't be tempted to grab junk food at the mall food court or the fast food restaurant on the way home, or, perhaps worse, inhaling 10 Christmas cookies as soon as you return home and head to the kitchen.

Snacking is the secret to side-stepping holiday weight gain

Keeping your workouts as part of your daily or weekly routine during Christmas season will keep you sane during the holiday craziness. Don't let fitness slip to the bottom of your Christmas to-do list -- regular workouts will make you feel better and look better as you complete your holiday agenda!

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