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November Exercise of the Month: Getting active during the holidays

Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP

Gobble, gobble! It’s that time again! Break out the sweaters and your stretchy pants. November brings cooler temps (hopefully) and the holiday rush. Typically, the calendars get slammed and hobbies get put on hold. Family events and parties await us as we long for down-time and a chance to breathe. In the midst of this busy season, there is still time and opportunity to get active during the holidays!

There are many excuses one can offer against movement during the holidays: no equipment, no time, my family is everywhere, that meal left me stuffed, and more. Don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to get moving without equipment that won’t take a lot of time and can be fun for everyone! These can also be done before your big holiday feasts. Try going for a family walk in the mornings before or after breakfast. Take an evening stroll after the kiddos go down for bed. Explore whatever destination you find yourself in. Take a hike, literally! You can also perform bodyweight movements to get a good calorie burn in for the day. Try out some push-ups, burpees, lunges, body-weight squats, planks, or flutter kicks. Break out YouTube and do a pilates or yoga routine. Squat your newest niece or nephew a few times. Keep it simple through the holidays, but don’t skip exercise!

The holiday season is very busy, so be kind to yourself,  but don’t use it as an excuse to miss out on some activity. There are so many benefits to being active. The American College of Sports Medicine states, “Benefits of regular physical activity and/or exercise include: improvement in cardiovascular and respiratory function, decreased anxiety and depression, improved cognitive function, enhanced quality of life, improved sleep quality and efficiency, reduced risk of falls and injuries from falls in older individuals, and effective therapy for many chronic diseases.” Get up and get after it, even if it’s for 15 minutes. Please reach out to me if you have any questions or need some encouragement! My email is

For a sample holiday workout, please keep reading!

Warm up with a 10-minute fast paced walk or light jog

Complete 2 rounds of the following:

  • 10-15 walking lunges (you can lunge in place if needed)
  • 15-20 burpees
  • 10-15 squats (focus on form here; squat with that cute newest addition for extra weight and snuggles)
  • 30-60 second bear crawl
  • 15-20 mountain climbers
  • 10-15 push-ups (modify as needed)
  • 30-60 second plank (focus on form; modify as needed)

Finish with a walk and some light stretching. If you are really feeling it, have a two song dance party before walking and stretching.



HopeHealth educates its patients on the importance of having a health care home. As a primary care facility, HopeHealth’s medical team works to prevent and detect illness and the early onset of disease, provide routine physical examinations and promote overall healthy lifestyles.

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