4 Ways to Squeeze in Holiday Exercise

How to avoid packing on extra pounds at the end of the year.

Posted: 11/26/2012 05:24 PM EST

According to the National Institutes of Health, most Americans add a pound over the holidays from the sheer amount of food and inactivity. For some, though, it can be as much as six pounds. Along with the benefit of avoiding the holiday weight-gain, sneaking in holiday exercise can help you manage blood sugar.

The best news?

You can use that holiday running around to get in some exercise. Here’s how:

1. Shop In Real Life—Not Online

When you’re being an online Santa, you’re burning as many calories as watching television. Instead, get out there and shop the mall, parking far away from the entrance. Don’t be one of those people waiting on a parking spot close to the store. You’ll get in a good walk even before you shop. For a better workout: Don’t dilly-dally between stores; keep up a strong, steady pace as you move between shops. For an even-better calorie-burning workout, make trips to the car to stow bags instead of carrying them around.

2. Clear Drives and Sidewalks With a Shovel

A snow blower is handy, but when you shovel your driveway by hand, you’re getting a chore done and burning about 400 calories an hour, based on a 150-pound person. For a better workout: Technique matters in snow shoveling. Spare your back those aches and pains; keep your spine straight and lift with your back and hips while rotating sideways. Don’t bend forward at the waist or pick up snow with just your arms. Snow shoveling should be a whole-body workout!

For more on exercise, visit blackdoctor.org.

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(Photo: Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images)

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