Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
23 Dec

10 Active Ways to Celebrate the Holidays

We know. Probably isn’t the day for sprints or weightlifting when you’re in the midst of celebrating. The holidays themselves are about spending time with family, honoring spiritual and cultural traditions, relaxing, and maybe over-indulging a bit. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get some activity in (beyond reaching for another appetizer). Granted, hardcore Grokkers (you know who you are) might not skip the day. For most people, however, prying ourselves off the sofa in search of another ‘nog will be our biggest physical feat of the day.

On the docket – ideas fun enough to inspire a break from couch-warming, perhaps inclusive enough to get the whole group going, but not so taxing that you’re left without energy for the main events of the day. We look at it this way: a little movement makes the feasting and chilling all the more enjoyable!

Morning Hike/Snow Shoe/Cross-Country

A great way to quietly begin the day for yourself before all the hoopla gets going (especially if you don’t have kids waking you up at the crack of dawn). Have munchkins tiptoeing in your room before any motivation to rise and shine? Make it a family affair after presents and breakfast but before the parade, lunch, and guests.

Polar Plunge

Is there any better way to ring in the New Year? (Come on, you know you want to try it….) So, who’s on board? Takers? Takers? Bueller?


A perfect way to get the kids out of the house so you can get the big dinner underway, but don’t let yourself miss out on all the fun! Once the turkey or roast is in the oven, don your parka and join the rest of your merry bunch. Share tales of your own childhood adventures, and show ‘em how it’s done! No seedlings? No matter. There’s nothing like sledding to bring out the youth, vitality, and mischievous ambition in all of us. Enjoy getting in touch with your 10-year-old self. Definitely a Grok-approved activity.

Snowman Making/Sculpture Contest

Anyone who’s rolled that 4-foot-high ball of a snowman’s bottom around the yard knows it takes some grit and determination. (Ah, but the kiddies love it!) Go ahead and earn that turkey leg!

Ultimate Frisbee

One of Mark’s favs, as he recently shared. And don’t worry if you don’t find yourself in shirtless weather this holiday. Snow makes it all the more challenging (and potentially comical). Let the family dogs get in the mix, and you have yourself a great way to pass the afternoon (and work up a mean appetite for dinner).


Whether it’s some casual downhill at an area park or a full out “destination” holiday to some serious slopes, go for a bit of family adventure. (Mark has his own plans for this one over the holiday!) A great way to live the day to the fullest (and healthiest)!

Game of Ball

Sure, you can park it on the couch and watch NFL, but consider at least taking an active half-time break. Soccer, American football, baseball, etc. – no matter. Just throw the ball around for fun, or round up the rellies for a casual Pop Warner type game. Who knows, it might develop into full out sprints for long bombs or a full on tackle game.

Wii Sports

Yes, we’ve mocked it in the past. (Blame Fuming Fuji.) While we’re not suggesting Wii Sports as a bona fide workout, it can be a fun group activity that inspires even Uncle Earl and Gramma Rose up off the couch. Be prepared for some good laughs, and have the camera poised and ready….

After Dinner Walk

After the dishes are put away (or officially left for the morning), get the group out to enjoy some holiday lights. Or, for a more festive spin, gather the songbooks and go caroling around the neighborhood.

Ready for some personal time away from the fray? Step out for a stroll around the block, or grab the dog’s leash and say you have to let Rover stretch his legs. Savor the peace and quiet, and relive your favorite memories of the day.

Night Skating

Again, excellent as a group activity, or magical as a lone (or partnered) escapade. Let loose, let go of the day’s stress, or use the time to reflect and experience the quieter, more personal (or romantic?) angle of the holidays. Whether you’re surrounded by laughing kids and merry hordes or whether it’s just you and the stars, it’s a great way to recenter and remember the best the holidays have to offer.

Have your own traditions or tips for getting up (and maybe out) during the holidays? We’d love to hear your suggestions.

Greg_e, Scott Butner, Voxphoto, andreasmarx, Diaper dad, Chaval Brasil,, avlxyz, steph*, sleight42 Flickr Photos (CC)

Further Reading:

10 Ways to Stay Active in the Cold Winter Months

Weight Gained During Exercise Hiatus is Tough to Lose

Let the Sun Shine In

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Lol.. “Ultimate Freezebee”.

    The SoG

    Son of Grok wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  2. We have a tradition of going whale watching on Christmas Day. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the perfect point to spot the whales, so we get some exercise. Then it is so peaceful and beautiful when we get there. Not to mention all of the excitement looking out for the whales. It’s one of my favorite Christmas traditions.

    Holly wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  3. My family loves football, so even though we tend to watch it all day, we always take the time for our own pick-up game in the backyard. It normally ends with us all laying on the grass laughing hysterically.

    Jane wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  4. Well, its not quite the traditional exercise – but a family tradition at my house is card games (or occasionally board games) after dinner. While we’re not up and running/hiking/skiing, between the laughing, yelling, and pranks played, I swear its exercise! Great family bonding time too when all of a sudden its 3am and we still have the full family sitting around the table.

    Rudolph wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  5. I’m sad to find out that pressing the buttons on my remote control doesn’t count. 😉 I’m only kidding of course. Merry Christmas everyone.

    Jerry wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  6. I’m not sure about the polar plunge, but I am all about the Wii Sports and snowman making! :)

    Fit Bottomed Girls wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  7. I have some friends that do a polar plunge every year – I definitely stand to the side and take pictures. They love it, but I’m staying out of the water! (I never fail to laugh a ton though!)

    Martha wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  8. Polar plunge and a ton of Guitar Hero!

    Zen Frittata wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  9. Me and my family are going to go on an 8-hour horseback riding trip tomorrow. I did ll those things in Canada when I studied there, except for Wii things. It was completely sold out by that point. Are you seriously a Wii owner Mark? I never would have imagined.

    JE Gonzalez wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  10. Hey Mark. Snowball fighting is another good, fun exercise over the Christmas holidays too. Lots of sprinting, ducking and diving plus it’s very enjoyable.

    Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips wrote on December 23rd, 2008
  11. Instead of hot potato, you can play “hot turkey” with the family… nothing like some good old plyos!! Hahaha

    All the Best,

    Andrew R

    Andrew R - Go Healthy Go Fit wrote on December 24th, 2008
  12. I like your style mark!!! If there is two things I have definitely gained from your blog its that saturated fats are ok and its more important to combine a wide variety of fun activities into your lifestyle than doing long drawn out monotonous work outs.

    Dr Dan wrote on December 24th, 2008
  13. cool ideas!

    marjann wrote on December 24th, 2008
  14. I agree. These are great ways to celebrate the holidays. I also think that snowball fighting is a good winter activity, especially at Christmas time.

    James wrote on December 19th, 2011
  15. Actually, I agree with this proposition , but anything not the same of a glasses of wine. ..

    Hadi wrote on December 28th, 2013

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