Thanksgiving and Christmas will be over before you know it, and as many Americans also know, 2022 will usher in a resolution to hit the gym, push away from the table and slim down.

Exercise is key to a healthy lifestyle and many of us find ourselves a little overweight as the year ends due to holiday eating coupled with less physical activity. It shouldn’t be this way.

Being active is one of the essentials of staying healthy. It can help lower our blood sugar, blood pressure and overall weight. Those who find themselves sitting at a desk during the day are even more likely to be plagued by holiday pounds.

But do yourself a favor. Don’t wait until January. Do what you can do NOW to be more active. There are lots of ways you can find time to get exercise.

-Trade your chair for an exercise ball for all or part of the day.

-Set an alarm to remind you to move around a few minutes every hour.

-Take the stairs

-Use a pedometer and aim for 6,000 to 10,000 steps a day.

-Deliver documents or messages to co-workers in person rather than by email.

-Park further away from your destination.

-Use a headset for your phone so you can move around while you talk.

-Take a short walk with co-workers or your family.

Understandably, bad weather is often used as an excuse for not exercising. No one enjoys heading out of doors on a cold, windy or rainy, but the weather doesn’t have to derail your workout plans. Even with a gym membership where you can exercise indoors where it’s warm, that doesn’t mean that you’ll go. The challenge becomes how to exercise when you feel like hibernating on your couch until warmer weather and more sunlight appear.

So what can you do to get your exercise in when it’s dark? How can you stay motivated? Keep in mind that even fitting in a 15- or 20-minute workout to a video is beneficial. The following tips might help:

-If you work, try to go to the gym or take a walk at a local park before you go home. Once you get home, the motivation to leave or to exercise often goes away.

-If you have kids who are involved in a sport, don’t drop them off at practice or wait in the car. Walk while you wait or do some body weight exercises such as planks, push-ups, high knees, jumping jacks and mountain climbers.

-Find someone to keep you accountable. Find a friend who would like to exercise but also needs motivation. You can call or text to remind each other to meet for a walk, run or any other form of exercise.

-Stay hydrated. The human body is roughly 60 percent water. If you aren’t properly hydrated, your body is not going to function as it should. You’ll feel like you are dragging and tired, and simply won’t feel like doing anything. The heat that keeps us warm also dries us out. That’s another reason to drink enough water each day. If you are feeling tired, drink a glass or two of water. You’ll be surprised at how much better you’ll feel.

-Bundle up against the cold and walk your dog. Walk in your neighborhood, or at a local park or school. Wear a reflective vest to keep you visible. Your dog will soon be the one encouraging you to get out.

-Use technology to help you exercise at home. You can perform many exercises using your own body weight. You’ll need to find the online teacher or class that you like best. There are many free videos on YouTube, Amazon Prime and other online platforms. Many online classes demonstrate modifications for different fitness levels. Simply type in “body weight exercises” or “walking exercises at home” and review your options.

-Involve your kids, family and friends. Turn on the outside lights and play tag outside in the yard. Or run short races across the yard with them.

-If you have time, exercise during the day. Take a change of clothes and shoes to work and go for a walk during lunch. If you’re at home, take a walk or short bike ride during lunch time or anytime you have some free time.

-Explore exercise videos or find an exercise class near you.

-Try to find exercises focused on stretching and building strength. Tai Chi is also a great option.

-Find an exercise class near you or find an indoor community pool or track.

-Look for evidence-based exercise classes that can help you stay active, but also can provide you an opportunity

to meet new people and see your friends.

-Go mall walking. This is a great option during the winter months to provide a warm, safe, and well-lit environment.

-Find an indoor community pool or track.

The important thing to do is to find ways to keep active. The more you start doing know the easier it will be in January if you find yourself making new year resolutions.

Tifani Kinard is Administrator in Charge and Chief Nursing Officer at Polk Medical Center, a part of Atrium Health Floyd.

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