Turn your screen into an exercise buddy this holiday season

Here are some tips to lighten the load of holiday feasts by using your screen!

By Kate Alexander

With Thanksgiving behind us, we’ve officially entered the parade of holiday events. Parties, parties, and more parties!

Let’s be honest. Enjoying the holiday season usually involves eating food we may not normally indulge in. Sugar cookies shaped like stars and snowmen, anyone?

With all the inevitable scurrying and eating, it could be super easy to gain a few pounds or skip exercising. Plus, we might enjoy extra hours of couch-vegging time, watching the best holiday movies. Or watching movies that talk about eating too much candy, like Elf. After all, elves “try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.”

So, with a mix of extra season goodies and more screen time, our January selfies could look a little bloated. Or, at least, a little less svelte.

All because we’re hurrying to eat, sit, and watch. Sounds like stress + inactivity = less fit.

How can we avoid these traps? Experts often suggest we limit screen time – on our phones, tablets, or TVs. Today’s increasing dependence (and sometimes addiction?) to our devices warrants this suggestion. Even social media keeps our eyes stuck to a screen.

But, what if we turned the danger of too much time staring into a way to stay active? What if we made screen time work for us, as we work out? Instead of gaining pounds, we could lose them.

During the next few weeks, try to turn your screen into an exercise buddy.

Here are a few tips:

1. Relax and enjoy. Even during “normal” busy days – full of studying for exams, preparing college applications, participating in sports and clubs, working, tending to family and friends – free time could be at a bare minimum, leaving no time to watch your favorite show.

Why not turn time on the treadmill into time to unwind and watch TV or a movie? Use your time on a reclining bike, treadmill, or elliptical to catch up on your (or the gym’s) tablet or phone. Never mind  if you laugh out loud at Sheldon’s antics in The Big Bang Theory. No one will mind!

2. Screen to Lean. Turn the “taboo” of too much screen time to your advantage. While studying for my master’s, attending a class at a gym or studio sometimes took too much time. But, it was possible to find pilates lessons on Youtube and health and fitness apps to download for free.

At Active.com, you can find 16 health and fitness apps to download for free or purchase.

Tools such as Pocket Yoga, Sworkit, or RunSocial may make your fitness routine a little less routine. Plus, you can use them at home, the gym, or in the great outdoors.

3. Surf for Classes. So, what if you want to get that body of yours to a class? Classes are available at your local gyms, nearby studios, or the YMCA. Use the screen to find your best options. To simplify scheduling, consider getting the free MindBody app. It will lead you to a swim, yoga, pilates, or MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) class in the area.

Whatever you choose, take a chance using your screen to lighten the load of holiday feasts. With your new “exercise buddy,” staying fit might not be as hard as you thought.


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