Burn some calories during the holidays

Richard Bogren, Reames, Elizabeth S.  |  1/4/2011 1:12:17 AM

News Release Distributed 12/17/10

Physical activity is important all year round, but it can be especially helpful during the holidays when you may be eating more than usual, says LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames. In addition to burning calories, physical activity helps build muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.

“Physical activity is a good way to burn calories and can help you feel less guilty about enjoying holiday favorites,” Reames says. “Besides the benefits of burning calories, physical activity can improve your sense of well-being and help reduce your stress level.”

Reames offers several suggestions to increase physical activity during the holiday season:

– Take a walk with friends and family after holiday meals to enjoy holiday decorations in your neighborhood.

– Grab the leash and walk your dog for 15-20 minutes. Depending on how fast you both walk, you will burn 60-100 calories. Both you and your pet will enjoy getting out of the house for this invigorating activity.

– If you’re near a mall, try mall walking. Find out about special hours reserved for walkers. Do some window shopping and enjoy the decorations.

– Take time to play with your children or grandchildren. Try favorite activities such as biking, throwing a ball or shooting hoops.

– Try some different activities like line dancing or an exercise video workout.

– Join friends in a game of flag football during halftime of your favorite football game. You can burn as many as 140 calories for every 15 minutes of play compared to only 71 calories for each hour of TV game watching.

Physical activity guidelines from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommend that adults get 2 1/2 hours a week – or 30 minutes a day – of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, such as walking briskly, water aerobics, ballroom dancing and general gardening, or 1 1/4 hours of vigorous physical activity, such as race walking, jogging, running, swimming laps or jumping rope, Reames says.

“Celebrate your holidays by spending time with family and friends,” she adds. “But plan time to get together that doesn’t revolve around food.”

Rick Bogren

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