5 Fun Ways to Stay Active during the Holidays (and keep the excess weight off)

And just like that, it’s November! The dark, cold days can really rob your motivation and desire to get up and moving. Add the holiday stress (and delectable desserts!), and you’ve got a recipe for weight gain, anxiety, and low energy.

No thanks. I think I’ll pass. Join me! Stay motivated and have fun while being active with friends and family with these fun activities.

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Fun way to exercise: Hula Hoop

This a reminder that exercise and staying physically active doesn’t mean a workout consisting of 20 sets of burpees and 100 sit-ups – not appealing…to most.

One way to adhere to an exercise routine is to make it enjoyable. Boredom, be gone! Gather your family and friends for this fun activity. You’ll be burning calories and keeping them off from the constant total body movements.

According to this study from the American Council on Exercise (ACE) “Researchers found hooping burns an average of 210 calories during a 30-minute hooping workout (approximately 420 calories per hour), which is comparable to the exertion of boot camp-style classes, step aerobics, and cardio kickboxing.”

The benefits go far beyond burning calories. Here are some of the benefits of a hula hooping session:

  • Works your cardiovascular system, heart, and lungs and improves oxygen delivery throughout the body.
  • Challenges and trains your balance, and coordination so you gain more control of your movements.
  • Low-impact so it’s kind on your joints.
  • Strengthens the core muscles, especially the obliques, these trim the waistline – you’re welcome;)
  • Great to exercise hip mobility which must coordinate with the core and lower body to swivel and keep the momentum going.
  • Portable, inexpensive and fun!

According to this small study, participants using weighted hula hoops for six weeks lost inches around the waist and hips. Another study compared weighted hula-hooping to walking and found participants who hooped for 13 minutes a day over six weeks reduced their abdominal fat % while gaining muscle mass in their trunk.

Keep in mind that nutrition plays a vital role in supporting your fitness goals.

Will you try hula hooping this holiday season? Inspire the whole family to fitness with this multiple-size hula hoop set that comes in a variety of colors. Level up to a weighted hula hoop once your form and posture are solid and you’re ready for a challenge.

  • If you haven’t hula hooped in a while, begin with just a few minutes with an unweighted hula.
  • Stand in front of a mirror to keep track of your form and posture.
  • Keep a wide stance, with one foot slightly in front of the other.
  • As you get stronger and into the rhythm, you can add time and then consider a lightweight hula of 1-2lbs.
  • This is not the best exercise for you if you have back or hip issues.
  • If you have any health concerns consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Fun way to exercise: Table Tennis

You see the theme going on here, family-focused. It is the holiday season after all!

My family received a ping pong table as a gift last Christmas, and we love it. It’s a fun solution for getting inspired to move on those dark, winter days.

I love that this sport is easily adjusted to suit any fitness level. If you watch the summer Olympics then you know how fierce it can get, and yet, grandma can play it! Here are some of the cool benefits of playing table tennis:

  • It can improve your reflexes
  • Sharpen hand-eye coordination
  • Great for various fitness levels and ages
  • Exercises shoulder, elbow, and wrist mobility
  • Trains the core muscles
  • Boost cardiovascular fitness and cognitive function
  • Easy on the joints

According to studies from Japan, table tennis effectively engages brain regions related to motor control, attentional processing, decision-making, and executive function. From the study:

“In summary, table tennis can induce neuroplastic alterations in multiple brain networks including motor-related areas, visual cortex (in particular, visual motion area), and frontal regions, ultimately leading to improved sensorimotor and executive functions. Therefore, table tennis is an excellent physical activity for maintaining brain health. There is also accumulating evidence that these beneficial effects may prevent or delay cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly.”

Benefits of Table Tennis for Brain Health Maintenance and Prevention of Dementia

Fun way to exercise: Jump Rope

Every household has a jump rope, right? Portable, accessible to most, and inexpensive.

To ensure the rope is the correct length for you, stand in the middle of the rope with your feet together; pull the rope up to your shoulders tightly; the end of the cable should reach your armpits (not including the handles).

Jumping rope is a repetitive movement that will elevate your heart rate and recruit big muscles from the legs and core. This will help you manage your weight effectively and keep the extra pounds off. Some benefits of jumping rope:

  • Effective at improving cardiovascular fitness
  • Improves coordination and balance
  • Improves running speed
  • Helps to build and maintain bone density

According to this 2015 randomized controlled trial women between the ages of 25 and 50 showed improved hip bone mineral density after 16 weeks of jumping 10-20 times, twice daily, with 30 seconds of rest between each jump.

Make sure you have a safe place to jump, clearing small objects off the floor. Be mindful of the surface you’re jumping on, a rubber mat would be ideal (that’s big enough for a jumping surface). A wooden floor will impact more stress on the joints. Keep in mind previous injuries or conditions that may be aggravated by the impact of this activity.

Be sure to gradually increase your heart rate and mobilize your joints with a slow, steady-state warm-up.

Ready to gather the family and challenge each other? Check out this jump rope tutorial for more guidelines:

Safety and precautions:
  • Land with a soft knee to lessen the impact and protect the joints (don’t straighten the legs after the jump).
  • Keep jumps close to the ground, just enough to clear the rope, and stay on the balls of your feet.
  • Start slow, jumping for 15-30 seconds; alternatively, you can set jump targets of xx jumps.
  • Discuss this with your doctor if you have any medical concerns or chronic joint conditions.

Fun way to exercise: Weighted Vest

This idea may not be as family-focused, but it is an easy-peasy training method for days you’re feeling “uninspired.”

Burn extra calories by clipping on a weighted vest and doing random everyday tasks. For instance, I know I will be walking the dog, heading to the post office, and doing laundry. It’s a great way to expend extra calories by doing what you would’ve done anyway!

Bearing more load can positively impact bone density, muscular strength, and endurance. Here are more benefits:

  • Reduce body weight and fat mass while building muscle
  • Improves your body awareness and posture
  • Keep workouts fun by adding variety

Weighted vests come in various sizes and weights; find one that suits your size, fitness level, and purpose to train effectively and avoid injury. According to this livestrong.com article, “it is a good idea to follow the 10 percent rule by starting with 10 percent of your body weight and only increasing the resistance by 10 percent each week.”

Here is the weighted vest I know and love, Aduro Sport Weighted Vest.

Safety and precautions:
  • Keep in mind, activities will have a higher impact, meaning more stress on the joints.
  • I wouldn’t recommend using a weighted vest for running or jumping unless you’re working with a professional conditioning coach.
  • Beginners, start with 5-10 pounds, with activities you’re confidently performing without the weight.
  • Listen to your body and back off if you feel lightheaded.
  • People with back or joint issues should not use a weighted vest before discussing it with their doctor and getting cleared.

Fun way to exercise: Indoor Obstacle Course

This idea came from my daughter and it’s a good one for the youngest members of the family. The number one goal here is having fun! Obstacle courses involve a wide range of movements and strategic thinking. Your entire mind and body are involved. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improves gross motor skills and planning
  • Reinforces working memory and problem-solving skills
  • Strengthens balance and coordination
  • Strengthens social bonds
  • Enhances sensory input

Check out the video below for fun ideas with your little ones!


On any ordinary day, work and life responsibilities can dampen our energy and motivation to train. Fitness routines are usually put on the backburner. The holidays are no different, and it almost feels justifiable to leave fitness out of the equation.

A consistent exercise routine is a valuable tool that results in many health benefits, including the prevention of many diseases. Remaining consistent, even (especially) during the holidays, is vital to managing stress, and boosting energy and mood.

I’m here to encourage you to find ways to remain consistent with your fitness routines. There will always be some celebration around the corner. We must learn to stay realistic while relying on the healthy habits we’ve built. It’s about finding the right balance to fit your unique life.

Need help planning a fitness program that will replenish and not deplete? Contact me for a complimentary consultation. Supporting and empowering busy professionals to take charge of their health and form sustainable habits to stay strong, agile, and fit is what I do.

I hope this post has given you some good ideas. I would love to know what you would add to this list? Your comments and feedback are welcome and appreciated.

Stand tall Breathe deep,

The information provided on this site is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please consult your physician for any health-related conditions. 

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