Holiday season is about…Staying in shape?

The holidays are quickly approaching, and for many people, that means a busy season of shopping, gathering with family and eating. For many, this does not leave much time to worry about diet and exercise, but that doesn’t mean that people can’t stay healthy and fit, experts say. There are many quick, easy steps people can do to stay in shape and eat healthy during the holiday season.

“It is important for people to maximize the efficiency of what they do,” Kevin Hamm, fitness director at Medford Fitness, said. “Interval training is the most effective way to go for people that don’t have injuries. Twenty- to 30-minute high intensity intervals are good for people to do. Combine weights and cardio exercises, no rest in between the exercises, keep moving. It gives you a whole body workout. You do it in short bursts, get it all done and no parts of the body miss out.”

“Efficient workouts are the way to go, but you want to be working on these all year,” Jim Bompensa, owner of Body Physics Fitness in Haddonfield, said. “Cardio and strength exercises at the same time save a lot of time. You can work out 30 minutes a day and work the full body. You set up circuits and move from one exercise to the next.”

Outside of normal daily exercises, there are things that people can do while out during the holiday season.

“Any extra movement you can add to your day is good,” Bompensa said. “The more moving a person is doing, the better. If you’re at the mall, parking far away and walking is a good way to burn calories.”

Setting goals for the year to help deal with the busy, holiday season as far as fitness and eating is also an effective way to deal with the season.

“It’s good to have goals for the year,” Hamm said. “You have to write them down and commit to them. You have to be concrete and have a specific goal in mind. Ninety-five percent of people’s New Year’s resolutions are to lose weight. By June, 92 percent forget about that goal. You have to be specific and stick with it.”

“Your routine should encompass the whole year,” Bompensa said. “That way, if you eat a little more at the end of the year, you won’t be worried so much about it. You can enjoy it. Stay fit throughout the year so you won’t be so crazy about it at the beginning of the next year.”

Being conscious of what and how you are eating during the holiday season also will help with keeping off the pounds.

“Before going to a party, eat something healthy and drink a lot of water,” Hamm said. “That will give you satiety, a feeling of fullness. Also while you are running around, make sure you eat. Some people during the holidays are running around all day, and by the end of the day, they are famished and then overeat. Watch the portions. Don’t overindulge in cookies, cake or other treats.”

“Eat foods that are high in protein,” Bompensa said. “Food that is high in protein tends to have less calories and is filling. Try to stay away from foods with a lot of sauces or sweets. Try to stick with foods like meats and vegetables. Be moderate with sauces and sweets.”

To check out a sample workout video from Bompensa, click here.