Gennev Health Coach StasiAuthored by Sports Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and Gennev Health Coach, Stasi Kasianchuk

Holiday Season is here once again! A time of social gatherings, celebrations, travel, and busy schedules.

Let’s face it, routines can be difficult to stick to during the festive season, especially when it comes to exercise. This is a time of year when many throw their exercise routine out the window and say, “I’ll start again come January!” But if you’re a woman in menopause, movement is especially important for your continued good health.

Why moving is important in menopause

During menopause it can be particularly important to maintain an exercise routine. With the normal decrease in estrogen that occurs during this time of life women are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Maintaining any type of movement supports your cardiovascular system.

Additionally, regular movement can help you sleep better, as well as better manage holiday stress and anxiety which can be further exacerbated during menopause. Finally, with weight management being more of a challenge during this time of life, keeping activity going throughout the holidays can play an integral role in supporting a healthy weight for you.

While exercise may be more of a challenge to fit in (or less of a priority), it does not mean it can’t exist. It may just look a little different than it does most of the year, which the month of December does for most people any way!

Keep moving through the holidays

Here are some simple strategies to stay moving or even start a movement routine during this time of year.

  1. Plan ahead week-by-week or day-by-day. Set aside time to take a look at your schedule and intentionally block off time to exercise. Doing this for the week can help you be strategic about getting your exercise in. If your week has a lot of tentative plans, it may be best to assess each day at a time. Take a moment in the morning (or the night before) to schedule your exercise time for the day ahead.
  2. Treat yourself! Give yourself an early holiday gift of a pack of classes you can use at an exercise studio you love or have been wanting to try, so you look forward to it. Buying 5-10 classes that have flexibility in when they are used allows you to book the classes based on your schedule. And packs often end up being cheaper than if you paid per class. Buying several also provides accountability around exercising more frequently in December.
  3. Break it up and be creative! Traveling, hosting guests, and committing to obligations can all make it challenging to have a large amount of time to dedicate to physical activity. However, even bouts of ten minutes provide cardiovascular benefits. If you have a layover in the airport, take a ten minute (or longer) walk around. Try picking up the pace to increase your breathing and heart rate. If you have a carry-on, getting your heart rate up may be easier than you think. Another option is to park farther away from the store when shopping or take a ten-minute walk before and/or after you shop. It all adds up, and something is always better than nothing!
  4. Make it a family affair. Include family members in your activity by going for walk to check out holiday lights in the neighborhood after a meal or planning a hike or snow activity with everyone. For some friendly competition, see who can accumulate the most steps each day you are together and award a prize.
  5. Be kind to yourself. It’s the holidays after all. No reason to beat yourself up if your activity or workout plan did not happen as intended. First assess if there is an abbreviated option you can still do to get some movement in your day (see #3). If the reality is that it just did not happen, rest assured that there is always tomorrow and another opportunity to move. Use it as motivation to start fresh the next day.

Maintaining an activity routine, even if it is different from what you are used to, will make it more likely you will resume your routine in the New Year AND you can continue to get the health and wellness benefits of exercise all month long.

If you haven’t been moving as much as you like and were thinking of starting in 2020, here’s your opportunity to finish strong in 2019 and get a head start on 2020.

Want more strategies on starting or maintaining an exercise routine that is personalized to you? Join the HealthFix program and work with a Gennev Health Coach to get expert support to create a plan that’s best for you.

Tell us what has worked for you to keep moving, or share the challenges you face in the holidays (or any time!) in our community forums.

About Coach Stasi: As a Sports Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist, and endurance athlete, Stasi Kasianchuk has expertise both personally and professionally in using exercise and nutrition to optimize health and performance, and she's putting that expertise to work, helping women in menopause live their best lives. During her free time she enjoys trail running, cycling, swimming, backpacking, or group fitness classes. Exploring farmers markets, local farms and restaurants and cooking and baking at home also bring her joy.