Local News

Exercise To Ward Off Holiday Weight Gain

Posted December 4, 2003

— With holiday shopping, decorating and entertaining, there is barely time to breathe, much less exercise. The good news is you may be burning more calories than you think.

With three boys and holiday planning, Richella Parhum does not have lots of time to spend at the gym. But she makes time and relies on her workouts to give her an added boost.

"It's so much more of a stress relief than I bargained for," she said.

The week after Thanksgiving, the University of North Carolina's Wellness Center was full of people with post-turkey guilt.

Crowds are expected to dwindle as the holiday season steps into high gear. It is also the time when people gain weight.

"For some people it's 5 pounds, for some people it's 10 pounds, but it doesn't have to be that way," said Kathy Kelly, lifestyle enhancement director at th4e wellness center.

One of the best ways to beat the holiday bulge is to exercise at least 20 to 30 minutes a day, several days a week. Parhum plans on being at the gym three times a week now through Christmas.

"I will do everything I can not to cut it out," she said.

For those who cannot make time for a formal workout, Kelly said shorter increments of activity can be just as good.

For example, when shopping at the mall, park away from the crowds and briskly walk to the entrance. Continue the pace inside going from store to store. Before you know it, 30 minutes have passed and you have fit in a workout.

"Shopping does count if you're walking at a good pace. Some other things include vacuuming. We'll give you credit for anything where you're moving," Kelly said.

Besides burning calories, you will have more energy -- something everyone can use more of to get through these busy days.

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