Please, do NOT exercise to burn calories this holiday season!

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Yes, that’s right! I do NOT want you to exercise to burn off those extra calories this holiday season.  Why?  First of all, we can’t predict with any great accuracy how many calories you are actually burning when exercising.  So, playing the “calories in calories out” game can just lead to frustration.

But mostly because you run the risk of missing out on the real benefits of taking time to be physically active and exercise this season:

#1: Stress reduction.  Mental stress prepares your body for movement.  Movement is the antidote for stress.  So taking time for exercise means you get to enjoy the holidays with a bit less overwhelm and tension.  Taking even just 5-10 minutes for a walk or stretch break can give your body what it is preparing for when you are stressed and you get to relax and enjoy things a bit more.

#2: Boosting mood.  “it’s the most wonderful time of the year” does not always ring true.  This time of year can be full of emotions, especially if you are battling depression or living through the loss of a loved one.  Exercise boosts brain chemicals that help us feel better and battle the blues and handle strong emotions.

#3: Crave less.  Exercise also boosts the same brain chemicals that create cravings for comfort foods, but in a much more balanced and user-friendly way.  So your brain gets what it is looking for giving you a greater ability to resist the temptations of all the extra goodies hanging around.

You see, if you are exercising focused on how many calories you are burning you might miss out these great benefits.   So, use exercise as the tremendous resource that it is for not only surviving but enjoying the holidays!

Wishing you and yours a wonderfully relaxing and fun holiday season.

Keep Moving, Be Well

Janet

These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.

Please share these posts with anyone you know interested in losing weight with or without weight loss surgery.  Click here to learn more about the UMass Memorial Weight Center

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by | December 20, 2017 · 5:15 pm

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