Newswise — For many, the holiday season is a time of overeating, but a Houston Methodist personal trainer says this year you can beat the battle of the bulge by using the classic tune “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

Lauren Murray, M.S., ACSM CPT, said use the song to add an exercise each day until you complete all 12 exercises on the twelfth day of Christmas. While the first day of Christmas traditionally starts on December 25, Murray recommends starting this challenge on December 20 and wrapping it up on December 31.

“It’s really easy to tell ourselves we’re too busy or why bother working out now when I’m about to start my new year’s resolutions, but just a few minutes of exercise each day can help balance out the decadent foods that we like to enjoy this time of year and all of the time sitting while travelling or visiting with loved ones,” Murray said.

Here is the 12-day exercise program Murray recommends:

  • First day of Fitmas: 1 30-second plank – Place your forearms on the ground with your elbows underneath your shoulders. Plant your toes on the ground and lift your knees off the floor. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. As you hold, tighten your core.
  • Second day of Fitmas: 2 squat jumps – Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and squat down. Then tighten your core and jump as high as you can. Land gently back into a squat.
  • Third day of Fitmas: 3 sit-ups – Lay on your back with your knees bent. Place your hands behind your ears and keep your elbows back. As you exhale, curl your body up toward your knees as you engage your core. Slowly lower yourself back down to the starting position.
  • Fourth day of Fitmas: 4 triceps dips – Sitting on a chair, place your hands shoulder width apart with your fingers facing forward. Slide your hips off the chair and keep your feet straight in front of you. Bend your elbows and lower down as you keep your back near the chair. Once your elbows are bent to about 90 degrees, push into the chair and return to start.
  • Fifth day of Fitmas: 5 burpees – Squat and place your hands on the floor in front of you. Jump your feet back into a pushup position. Return your feet back to the squat position. Stand and jump as high as you can.
  • Sixth day of Fitmas: 6 reverse lunges – Begin standing with both feet together. Take a large step backward and lower down until your front thigh is parallel with the floor. Be sure your front knee is positioned directly over your ankle. Return to standing and switch legs.
  • Seventh day of Fitmas: 7 push-ups – Place your hands slightly wider than shoulder width on the floor. Place your feet behind you and maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. Bend your elbows until they are at a 90 degree angle, then push yourself up back to start. You can modify by doing a push up with your knees on the ground.
  • Eighth day of Fitmas: 8 high knees – Stand up straight with your feet together. Quickly drive one knee up toward your chest. Bring the same leg back down and immediately drive the other knee up. Continue this motion as quick as you can as you engage your core muscles.
  • Ninth day of Fitmas: 9 jumping jacks – Begin by standing with your legs together and arms at your side. Jump your feet apart, beyond hip width, while bringing your arms above your head. Jump again, lowering your arms and bringing your legs together.
  • Tenth day of Fitmas: 10 mountain climbers – Start in a plank position. Maintain a straight line from your head to your heels. With your core engaged, bring your right knee forward toward your chest without letting your foot touch the ground. Return to plank position and switch legs.
  • Eleventh day of Fitmas: 11 squats – Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Sit back and down like you’re sitting in an imaginary chair. Keep your core engaged and your knees behind your toes. All of your weight should be in your heels. Push through your heels to return to standing.
  • Twelfth day of Fitmas: 12 minutes walking

“Don’t let excuses derail your progress or cause you to procrastinate until 2019,” Murray said. “The holidays will be much more fun and festive knowing that you did something good for yourself each day.”

For more information, visit us at houstonmethodist.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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