Between holiday parties, family events, school performances and your regular routine, squeezing in a workout can seem impossible from Thanksgiving through Christmas. Toss in school breaks, more time at home, and less motivation to venture outside and you may be worried about how everyone is going to look and feel by the time the holiday binge ends.
Keeping your family active during the holidays doesn’t have to be one more thing to put on your to-do list. In fact, helping cross off errand items like grocery shopping can become part of  your family’s activity this season. Park and walk, for instance. Or have everyone carry their own bags of goodies so Mom or Dad isn’t doing all the heavy lifting.
Finally, with just a tiny bit of planning and prep you can keep your whole family active and spirited during the holidays. Here’s some tried and true tips from real families.

12 Days of Christmas Family Workout

Count down to Christmas with this simple layered workout that increases each day. Adjust the routines to suit  your family, but the basic idea remains the same. By the time Christmas rolls around, you’re completing a full workout and having fun doing it!

  • 1 minute low plank
  • 2 burpees
  • 3 leg lifts
  • 4 backward lunges
  • 5 pushups
  • 6 forward lunges
  • 7 tricep dips
  • 8 squats
  • 9 situps
  • 10 mountain climbers
  • 11 air bicycles
  • 12 jumping jacks

Find the original workout and tips at

Activate those Traditions

  • Take a hike–The weather is usually still great this time of year for a brisk walk in the woods. Without heat as a deterrent, bundle up in layers and challenge the family to the hike you’ve been wanting to try! (Strolling by holiday lights totally counts, by the way.)
  • Wrapping presents–Set up the wrapping station in another room so the kids have to run back and forth to the tree.
  • Tree decorating–Just walking or climbing up and down stairs to get your supplies is activity. Let the kids help and encourage stretching to reach those tall branches!
  • Ice Skating/Sledding–Venture to one of the many festive adventure sites in your area. These fun activities will activate little used muscles, increase your heart rate, and build family memories.

Sorey Fitness has a great list of regular holiday activities and the calories they burn–including shopping, socializing, and cleaning.

Movie/Workout Time

Over at Fit Bottomed Girls, you’ll find an excellent workout list for all your kids’ favorite holiday movies. Here’s a few examples:

  • For “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” jump up every time someone says “Who”.
  • During “A Charlie Brown Christmas” do 10 pushups every time Snoopy appears.
  • While watching “Elf,” start and stop jumping jacks every time “elf” is used.

Modify to suit your kids’ ages and favorite movies! How about marching in place every time Rudolph’s nose glows?

Rock Around the Christmas Tree

Crank up the Christmas music and shake out the energy–and the sugar–with this great idea over at Toddler Approved. Create a simple set of workout cards for your kids with holiday themed activities such as “run around the house like gingerbread men” or “jump over the candy cane” or “stand tall like a Christmas tree”. Similar to musical chairs, have kids stand on a card and perform the action while a minute or two of music plays. When you change songs, they change workouts! Mom and Dad can get in on the fun, too!
Happy Holidays!