An exercise and nutrition specialist from the Show Me State has suggestions for avoiding weight gain during the holidays.

university-of-missouri-associate-professor-steve-ball-photo-courtesy-of-muDistractions such as travel and family obligations can present road blocks to physical activity.  But University of Missouri associate professor Steve Ball contends you can find time to exercise, even during events such as Black Friday.

“Don’t fight for the closest spot” said Ball.  “Do yourself a favor and just park in the back of the parking lot.  Lots of times you’ll beat people inside anyway, and you’ll get a few steps in.  Over the long haul, these types of things can add up and make a difference.”

Ball says it’s also possible to avoid weight gain by paying attention to calories you take in and the calories you burn off.  He thinks it’s important to remember that some exercise is always is better than none while more is better than some, and too much exercise is difficult to get.

He thinks it’s important to avoid being sedentary, especially during the holidays.  Ball says you can keep your fitness goals on track by finding ways to exercise during the holiday season.  He notes exercise regimens can easily unravel due to holiday distractions.  “It can be a good excuse to just avoid exercise altogether.  If you miss one day, you miss two, you miss a week or two weeks, that can lead the whole program going down the drain.”

Ball says it’s important to realize that barriers exist to exercise over the holidays.  He recommends planning in advance for a walk, run or workout in between family obligations.

According to Ball, there are dangers to using the holidays as a way to take a break from an exercise schedule.  “When you go back to the gym eventually, it’s going to be much harder to get back to the level of fitness where you are right now, versus if you were just to get back in there on Monday and start back with your exercise program, you’d be better off in the long run.”

Ball serves as the state fitness specialist for the MU Extension and is a nationally recognized expert on the subject.