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There is always an excuse to avoid exercise—especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. But slacking off on your fitness program during this time of year will only leave you with a few unwanted pounds and stress.

Studies show that exercise increases serotonin levels and is a great antidote for depression. It also helps reduce your heart rate, stress levels and blood pressure—all important things for making it through the holidays.

Here are a few ways you can make time to get moving this holiday season:

200401714-0011.)    Turn your living room into a gym. No time for the gym? No problem. Keep your exercise routine on track by doing crunches, push-ups and jumping jacks. Or convert some of your home equipment into gym equipment. Stairs, chairs and your living room floor can all be turned into exercise equipment.

2.)    Take advantage of the little things you already are doing. Park your car in the furthest spot from the entrance to your work or the store, stand up during calls, take the stairs instead of the elevator or take an extra-long walk during lunch. These little improvements will really add up over time!

3.)    Schedule your workouts. Each week pull out your calendar and pencil in your workouts (try to at least shoot for getting three workouts on465436071 your schedule each week). During the week, treat your workouts just like you would any other appointment—as something not to be missed. Most of us are looking for less to do—not more to do—during this time of year, so take an honest look at your calendar and remove the unnecessary tasks to make exercise a priority.

4.)    Find a workout buddy to keep you accountable. Having a friend keep you accountable will help you stick to your workout commitments. The companionship will also make working out more enjoyable—especially when it’s cold and dark outside. If you can’t find a friend to workout with, consider going to a group exercise class like indoor cycling, Zumba or boot camp. These classes may be just what you need to get out of your workout slump and mix up your typical routine.

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