Add a Side of Exercise! / by James Leath

With all the honey-roasted and sugarcoated temptations that come with the holidays, even those with the strongest of wills are bound to nibble a little here and there. That's okay as long as you keep your calorie balance under control. The easiest way to do that is ..... Add more exercise to your day!

Here are a few tips to help you squeeze in a little extra activity:

Make an appointment with yourself to go to the gym, hiking trail, or to do an exercise video. If exercise is scheduled into your day, you are more likely to make the time to get moving.

Start Early. Exercising in the morning is not only a great way to get the blood pumping, it's a great way to set the tone for the day, giving you a little extra strength to resist overindulging.

Park in the farthest parking spot possible. Those extra steps into the shopping mall add up!

Take a lap! Before you pick up your holiday packages, take a lap or two around the shopping mall. Even just 15 minutes of moderate walking can burn off a few of those extra calories.

Make it a family affair. Try taking your family snowshoeing or ice skating. You can build lasting memories and burn calories at the same time.

Not only will exercise burn off a few unwanted calories, it can also help you manage the stress of the holiday season.

"Exercise, particularly aerobic exercise, has consistently been shown to be effective in helping individuals manage psychological stress," said Cedric Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, and chief exercise physiologist/vice president of educational services for the American Council on Exercise (ACE).

(adapted from an article written by Pat Birkle)