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, Birdfreak.com, 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

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