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Tips to Have a Happy, Healthy and Balanced Holiday Part 5: Exercise posted Dec 4, 2017

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During the holiday season, we are often so busy that we let our exercise routine slide. As hectic as this time gets we still need to see exercise as a necessary piece of a happy, healthy and balanced holiday season.

There are several ways that regular exercise can benefit you. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. Large amounts of time for exercise are not necessary to reap weight-loss or maintenance benefits. If you can't do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, speeding up your household chores, going for a walk or parking further from the store.

No matter what your current weight, being active increases high-density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. Exercise keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. Regular physical activity can help you prevent, as well as manage, a wide range of health issues and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and can strengthen your body to minimize falls. Exercise also stimulates various brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. When you exercise regularly you feel better about your appearance and yourself, which boosts your confidence and improves your self-esteem. Regular activity can improve your strength and increase your endurance. Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily activities and responsibilities.

Staying active can improve the quality of your sleep by helping you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Exercise and physical activity give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or engage in holiday festivities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting, as a family, you could do a local Christmas or New Year’s Day race.

Take time to find an activity you enjoy, and commit to doing it throughout the holidays. As a general goal, engage in at least 30 minutes of activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals for a race, you may need to exercise for a longer period of time.

Keep moving to keep moving! Exercise will give you the energy you need to have a happy, healthy and balanced holiday season.

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