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Creative Fitness for the 'Most Wonderful Time of the Year'

Having trouble finding time to workout this holiday season? Maybe you just need to get a little creative with your fitness!

Holidays are in full swing, and so are the parties and get-togethers. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, food — and lots of it — is a big part of the festivities. And so is a hectic schedule that does not always leave enough time for working out.

I personally love the holiday season, but over my 17-plus years in the fitness field have seen it, health-wise, be a real pitfall. We consume far too many calories and more than our share of fattening food. As if that wasn't enough, add on top of that the bulk of the population doesn't put in the time and effort to burn it off afterwards. No wonder many of us carry the extra weight into the New Year and, if we are not careful, into following years as well.

If you are one of those people who just can't find the time — or motivation — to work out during the holidays, try to find other ways to sneak in some physical activity into your day.

Ask yourself how you can include at least some exercise in your schedule, even if it is not your usual fitness routine. While regular and continuous physical activity is the most beneficial for health and weight control, a little bit of movement is still better than none at all.

So what can you do to stay on track for the rest of the holiday season? Get creative. Use that festive spirit and think out of the box. The more enjoyable your mini-workout is, the more benefit you'll get from it.

For example:

Rock around the Christmas tree (or Hanukkah bush): OK, so it doesn't have to involve the tree, but dancing while you do your household chores is certainly better than not moving at all. You'll be in motion, get your heart rate up and work muscles throughout your body. So put 'Jingle Bell Rock' on your iPod and start moving and shaking!

Deck the halls: Whether you spruce up your house with the boughs of holly, tinsel or garlands, reaching up high to hang the decorations is a great stretching exercise, which will elongate several muscle groups, relieve tightness, improve circulation and increase joint flexibility.

Over the river and through the woods: If you don't feel like doing your usual workout, consider a brisk walk instead. It will energize you, lower your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes and keep your weight in check at the same time.

As corny as some of these may seem, they illustrate just how many chances there are to stay fit even during this busy time. It's just a matter of seizing every opportunity that presents itself — even if it doesn't fit into the category of conventional exercise.

Since 1997, James Cipriani has been the owner and head trainer of Brookfield's . Information on his programs, fitness tips and client testimonials are available at www.JamesCipriani.com. Cipriani, a certified personal trainer with over 17 years of experience in the fitness industry, can be reached at Jim@JamesCipriani.com or 203-775-5128. Anyone looking for quick, short burst workouts they can do through the holidays can find them posted daily at the Cutting Edge Facebook Fan Page.  While you are there, be sure to "Like" us!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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