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Staying healthy during the holidays

The Air Force updated its  policy governing uniform wear Jan 17.  Among the changes are the Air Force physical training uniform no longer has color restrictions for athletic shoes and black socks are now allowed with the physical training uniform.  (U.S. Air Force photo/Sara Vidoni)

(U.S. Air Force photo/Sara Vidoni)

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- I have been working here in the health and fitness field for almost 20 years and every year the same question arises - "How do I stay fit through the holidays?" 

Most people will gain two to three pounds over the holiday season, but there are recommended strategies to stay fit, even when time is tight.

My philosophy - anything is better than nothing! Even 10-20 minutes of exercise is beneficial. For the most bang for the buck, I recommend high intensity interval training.  Check out free online HIIT workouts, such as www.fitnessblender.com.

When out holiday shopping, try power walking to increase your heart rate and burn more calories.  A pedometer or fitness tracker can be used to count steps.  Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day, which is equal to approximately five miles.

For strength training, performing body weight exercises, such as push-ups, squats and lunges, is a good route to go. No equipment or gym is needed.

Try making exercise a family affair by taking a walk after dinner or playing outdoor games.

I'd like to emphasize even though someone is active, the amount of food consumed should still be monitored.  Moderation is the key; don't over eat at meals.  Drink plenty of water during the day and right before a meal to create a feeling of fullness, so over indulgence is not as likely to occur.  Also, don't starve all day in anticipation of a big holiday meal - eat a small meal a few hours before to prevent being famished or overeating.