December 16, 2018

Sarah Merkle

Turning a sedentary holiday into an active event

Let’s face it, during the holiday season we can sometimes fall out of our healthy routines. It’s easy to eat and drink more than we normally would, and skip exercise in favor of fun holiday events and traditions. For some, the gym memberships go on hiatus and physical exercise is almost nonexistent.

But perhaps this year you’d like to forge a new path, stay active and incorporate a bit more activity into your holiday. It’s absolutely possible and can be a fun way to encourage activity for the entire family!

Here are a few ways you can keep your mind and body active the right way through your holiday season:

• Take a quick walk – Sometimes we skip the opportunity to go for a walk because we feel we have to gear up – change clothes, put on the right shoes, or wrap-up what we were working on. But don’t over complicate it! Even taking a short 5-minute walk outside or even around the house can get your muscles and mind stimulated. Resist the temptation to only spend time with family and friends sitting – suggest everyone gets up and take a walk together.

• Kitchen yoga – Don’t worry, you won’t need your yoga mat for this one. For those of you who will be spending extra time in the kitchen, take advantage of the time you spend standing to work on posture, balance, strength, and even your core! Tree pose, chair pose, or mountain pose can all be done while you wait for the pie to finish baking.

• Family circuit training – It can be challenging to get the whole family to the gym on a holiday. Consider putting together a fun and creative circuit training course that both adults and kids can participate in. Gentle squats in the kitchen, leg lifts from the couch in the living room, and easy wall push-ups in the hallway. 1 minute at each station and you’ll have the group energized to start their day.

• Clean the house contest – Chores are a great way to burn calories and if you incorporate a little competition, everyone wins!

• A Holiday Dance Off – Who has the best moves? Grandpa? Your Aunt Joyce? Put their skills to the test and settle the score once and for all.

• Scavenger Hunts – Is Santa coming to your house this year? Written clues that invite collaboration and movement create a fun game atmosphere that will have everyone involved. They’ll be focused on the fun rather than the fact they’re working up a sweat!

• Find a Holiday Fun Run – Make it a tradition to get the whole family off the couch and enter everyone into a Holiday Fun Run. Most festive races are about being together and enjoying the course (running or walking), so there’s no need to worry about beating a personal best time.

• Breathe – While it may not be a physical activity, breathing is a must to keep your mind healthy. Carve out as little as 2 minutes to practice taking deep breaths in and out your nose. Close your eyes and count to 5 on the inhales and 5 on the exhales. Just remember that holidays are a time to be thankful, and breathing can help you remember to relax and don’t sweat the small stuff.


Sarah Merkle is an author, health coach, yoga teacher, and motivational speaker on a mission to transform lives. She is the founder of Zen4, a company that helps organizations achieve their full growth potential by providing Connected Employee Solutions.  Visit to learn more.