2011 Archives

Stay in Shape During the Holidays

Excerpt

The following story ran on Womenshealthmag.com. Psychologist Jasper Smits provided expertise for this story.

December 13, 2011

By LIZ PLOSSER

Realistically speaking, your goals this time of year should be to fend off the dreaded holiday bulge (the average weight gain is about a pound), hold on to your hard-won endurance (women can lose up to 20 percent of their cardiovascular fitness if they quit exercising cold-turkey between Thanksgiving and New Year's), and put a dent in the inevitable stress of the season (so the stuff that's supposed to be fun actually will be)....

And quickies aren't just good for your waistline: Studies have suggested that small doses of regular exercise—we're talking 10 to 20 minutes at a time—can result in temporary mood improvement or anxiety reduction. So just imagine how much mall stress you'll be spared! Exercise raises levels of serotonin, a feel-good hormone, while reducing your heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels. "You may think a workout is the last thing you have time for during the holidays, but you'll actually feel calmer and more confident if you can fit it in," says Jasper Smits, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Southern Methodist University....