Making Exercise a Priority this Holiday Season

We’ve made it, fellow mommas! December is here in all its glory and along with it come delicious foods, marvelous parties, twinkling lights, cooler weather {ok, this one is a maybe…it is Houston after all!} and two weeks with your precious children home from school!  All of this fun and excitement can also come with shopping madness, mall parking spot stalking, lots of stress and loads of calories! It also means that oftentimes, we stop exercising while we promise to ourselves that we will start up again in January.

And come January the pants don’t fit, and you can’t wait for those precious babies to go back to school so you can breathe again!

Part of the magic of the season is definitely making memories with family and friends. Food is certainly part of the fun and fellowship! To me, there’s nothing like sharing in a great meal with friends and cooking my favorite traditional Cuban Christmas meals at this time of year.  With me getting closer to the big 3-9, which is very close to the big 4-0, I am finding that taking care of myself physically has become a huge priority year round. With the stress {and happiness!} of the holiday season looming, here are a few tips and reasons on why staying active should be a priority for you too!

Endorphins, Endorphins, Endorphins

You may have heard this “buzzword” and wondered what’s in the big E word? Well, it’s the happy bug. These chemicals are released by the brain after exercise and they produce a feeling of positivity and happiness. That runner’s high you hear about sometimes or you may have experienced yourself? Yep, endorphins are responsible for those. That feeling of awesomeness you always feel after a workout that you didn’t want to go to in the first place? Yep, endorphins again! So in a time when the pressures of multiple parties, getting all the shopping done, moving the elf, taking the family photos and dealing with family members that you may or may not want to spend an evening with start to add up, get your body moving!

And y’all it doesn’t take a lot to make those endorphins kick in!

So what can I do?

A thirty minute run/jog around your neighborhood. Don’t like to run? Make it a power walk. You can even take the kids and the dog…make it a family affair!

Take a group exercise class. I’m really digging F45 right now. In just 45 minutes I get an intense cardio or strength workout depending on the day. It never fails…I always walk out of there feeling accomplished and ready to tackle anything those 3 boys and all those high schoolers throw at me! Many of the big box gyms are also expanding their class options and offering 30, 45 and 60min classes.

Park your car farther away from the store entrance. Listen, who wants to fight for the nearest parking spot? It’s the holiday season after all and let’s be merry! Parking farther away gets you some extra steps and you avoid dealing with the crazy. Aim for about 10,000 steps daily. Ah yes, and take the stairs!

Enlist a buddy or two and workout together. This will help to keep you motivated and accountable.

Schedule your Exercise

The same way we put our hair appointments, our preschool parties and our girls’ nights on the calendar, put your workout time in as well. Give it the same importance that you give all other events because your health and well being matter. I’ve made a commitment to my health because if I’m being completely honest, I’ve put on a few pounds and I also have a history of Type 2 Diabetes in my family. I’ve also gone back to work full time and I was starting to see my workouts fall on the back burner. I’ve committed to making sure I work out at least 4x a week. Sometimes it’s a class, sometimes it’s a jog, sometimes it’s working out in my garage. But I am making myself move 4x a week, and everything else can wait because my health and fitness matter.

You can’t fill the very busy holiday season {and all seasons, for that matter} cups if your own cup is running on empty, so schedule some very important physical activity time. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

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Maria is a Cuban born, Miami raised, officially made-it-to-Texas mom of 3 who has called the Katy area home for the past 11 years. Growing up in Miami has played a central role in Maria's cultural identity and how she is raising her kiddos. While attending Florida International University {Go Panthers!}, she met a cute boy named Alex. He had the most amazing smile and a head full of hair and since getting married and adding Daniel {November 2007}, Nicolas {January 2010} and Matteo {June 2011} to the family, he now has no hair but still an amazing smile! Maria was lucky enough to travel to far away places during her time working for a large international firm but switched gears after having kids to focus on another passion – helping people through fitness. She believes we are always a work in progress and we shouldn’t be afraid to reinvent ourselves! When she’s not chasing her three boys, Maria enjoys date nights, distance running, binge watching HGTV and enjoying a little vino with her friends!


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