9 Ways to Stay Active During the Holidays

The holiday season is right around the corner, and so is the jam-packed schedule, endless events, excessive eating, and stress that comes with this joyous time of year. Many people feel anxious about losing their healthy living momentum when the holidays come around. With some strategizing and planning, you can stay healthy and motivated.

One of the biggest issues that people face when they travel or adjust their schedule for holiday-related events is maintaining a regular exercise schedule.

Here are 9 tips to help you stay motivated to move and exercise throughout the holidays:



We know, who doesn't love to sleep in on their day off, but neglecting your internal alarm clock can actually affect your ability to exercise. That's why it's recommended to set your alarm clock a little earlier than you would during your regular work schedule to fit exercising into your morning during holiday vacation. There’s no time like the morning to get it done. Research shows that people who work out in the morning are more likely to keep a consistent routine and sleep more soundly at night.



Majority of people do not think about packing their gym essentials like their shoes, workout gear, and water bottle when getting ready for a holiday vacation. If you can, bring a bigger bag with you to fit all of your necessities, so you have no excuse not to work out. If you have your shoes and your workout clothes, it’ll make the process of getting you to the gym easier! No question.

3. Schedule your workouts

Sticking to a schedule is by far one of the most effective ways to stay on your game when it comes to working out especially during a busy time of year. Schedule your workouts in advance and sign up for the classes you want to take part in if you're close to your gym. If away, find a spot where you are staying to exercise based on your workout schedule. Often having it on the calendar is enough to keep you going. Just don’t let the time pass without having a plan. 

Prefer to take pre-scheduled fitness classes instead? Check out our online schedules for our group exercise class or check on the SAY mobile app!

4. Think outside the gym


Just because you may not be able to get to the gym doesn’t mean that you’re out of luck when it comes to your workout. Remember that walking, shopping, swimming, and hanging Christmas/holiday decorations all involve being active. Whether you find a spot in your hotel room, a space in your relative's house that you're staying at, or go for a run around the neighborhood, these are all places you can still workout if your gym is not in proximity. 


You can utilize time preparing holiday meals for an easy time to slip in some light resistance training. Heel lifts while standing at the kitchen counter, and simple countertop pushups while standing around the kitchen can both be great when it comes to helping you stay toned. 

Need some cooking inspirations? Check out some healthy holiday-themed recipes here. And if you're looking for regular healthy recipes for your daily lifestyle, try out some of the Y's special healthy recipes, created by our own YMCA instructors and trainers!

6. Skip the elevator

Not only will the wait time at the department store (or anywhere else you may be shopping for the holidays) be long and frustrating to wait in, but you will get more steps by taking the stairs. You'll be surprised how many calories you will burn just by walking and climbing stairs at the mall. 

7. Participate in holiday-themed runs

There are plenty of events like runs and walks you can participate in this time of year. Some benefitting charities and local organizations, and some just for fun. For example, many towns and communities hold Turkey Trot runs - a running event that take place on or around Thanksgiving Day. Sign up and walk or run! Be sure to check the Y's online schedules for special holiday-themed group exercise classes in November and December!

8. Set up a family challenge

Enough of us have smart phones and tracking devices that you can challenge family members (or friends) to a steps challenge. Sometimes the competitive nature of the event can be enough to make us do it. Set a fun holiday prize for the winner and let the games begin! 

Ways to stay fit as a family is by creating your workout challenge at the Y that may include running and walking on a treadmill to count steps or miles, swimming laps in the Summit YMCA's indoor pools, cycling on our many bikes or join an indoor cycling class as a family, and more! All of these fitness challenges are trackable and can be measured by challenge goals. So who's ready to win?

If family members are not part of the Summit Area YMCA, just fill out this form and receive your guest pass in your email!

9. Use online resources

One of the easiest ways to ensure a movement session is to have a selection of easy-to-do workouts that you can perform anywhere. Members of the Summit Area YMCA have complimentary access to our Virtual Fitness Studio - a growing library of on-demand workout videos with new fitness classes added from your favorite instructors at the Y, making it easy to exercise on the go. 

No matter what you do, find small ways to remain active and healthy while enjoying your time with family and friends during the holidays. You'll feel refreshed after a nice holiday vacation before going back to your regular schedule.

At the Summit Area YMCA, we are here to support you mind, body, and spirit all year long. Our community members are always encourage to reach out to us to join, get involved, or learn more ways to reach their health and wellness goals. If you visited our facilities over the holidays, or any time of the year, and would like to join the Summit Area YMCA, you can join here in just a few short steps. 




In 1886, we were founded as the Young Men's Christian Association, but today, we are The Y. An association that values, and is made stronger by, its diverse people. We stand for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility — For a better us. We are committed to creating equal opportunity for all regardless of gender, age, disability, income, ethnicity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation. We strive to create a welcoming and inclusive culture in which our four core values — responsibility, honesty, caring and respect — are integral to everyday operations.

Each year, as one of the area’s leading 501(c)3 charitable organizations, the Summit Area YMCA serves more than 15,000 individuals with our free and fee-based programs and services in an area spanning the New Jersey communities of Berkeley Heights, Gillette, Millburn, New Providence, Short Hills, Springfield, Stirling and Summit. Our history is rooted in working side-by-side with our neighbors to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn, grow and thrive. Through the generosity of our members, donors, and partners, we are able to offer financial assistance for our programs and services to those in need.