Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart

I’m not giving anyone a news flash when I say shopping is essential during the holiday season, right? So while spending your hard earned money and getting pushed and shoved by the holiday crowds you can also burn some extra calories. Now have I piqued your curiosity?

Here’s some suggestions on how to do it:

Before starting your shopping quest eat a healthy, hearty breakfast such as oatmeal with fruit or yogurt. An egg white omelet with low fat cheese and mushrooms is always delicious, accompanied by seven grain toast. Now you are properly fueled for gathering the perfect gifts for friends and family.

When you arrive at your shopping destination, park far away (not that you’ll have much of a choice) from the front door so you have to do a little extra walking. If you go to a mall to shop walk around the stores and plan your shopping strategy before you “hit the floor running.” Walk at a good clip, a little faster than usual. Window shopping can be exhilarating, give you great gift ideas and get some extra walking in, thus burn some extra calories.

Forget about the escalator, take the stairs. Stair climbing does wonders for the gluteus maximus and legs, and will also help burn some extra calories.

You might be so focused when you get into your shopping groove that you’ll forget to eat lunch. I advise you pack some healthy snacks like almonds, carrots and apple slices to keep your blood sugar in check and your energy up. When you do finally stop for a quick bite of lunch make good choices such as a grilled chicken sandwich or a salad with low fat dressing. Don’t wait until you are ravenous and grab the first greasy fast food you can get your hands on, gobbling it down like you haven’t eaten for days.

Always carry around a bottle of water, it will keep you hydrated and alert, after all you don’t want to miss any great deals! Yes, you’ll see the Ladies Lounge a few times during the day, but those are the sacrifices you’ll have to make.

When your hands are full of shopping bags do some arm lifts and bicep curls, every so often, to get a little upper body workout in.

Make sure you put the heavy packages down once in a while and give your body a nice stretch, after all you don’t want to tighten up and pull something when your reaching for the Ralph Lauren cashmere sweater or the pair of Seven jeans on the bottom shelf.

Finally, when there are only Aunt Gertrude and Cousin Henry to buy for and your arms are about to fall off from the cumbersome bags you’ve been holding and lifting all day, that’s a good sign it’s time to head home. Go get some well deserved “chill time.”

Take it easy, you had a fun, but an oh so stressful, day. Put on some relaxing jazz or classical music, slip into a warm bubble bath with some muscle relaxing herbal bath gel and sip some antioxidant-rich green tea. Oh, and try not to agonize over who you forgot on your list. There’s always the Internet.

Originally published December 2005
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