Manic Monday~ Avoiding Holiday Crowds

It's that time of year again! In our "big" city there are several places I avoid visiting during the holiday shopping season. Let's see.... Wal-Mart in Moline, Aldi between 9-11am and 3:30-7:30pm, Hy-Vee before a snow storm, South Park Mall on the weekends, Ross on the weekends and evenings, John Deere Road, Elmore Avenue and parts of 53rd in Davenport......I honestly could go on. And this has taken only just a few years to figure this bliss out. So seemingly where there are huge crowds in so many places....it makes sense to wonder what places are empty. Because, truth be told.... That's where I prefer to be. The no hassle scene. And interesting enough, the very places we should be at this time of year are those places that offer stress relief and healthier living. For example: home is a stop and go location for many during the holiday season. In fact, I read that quite a few more households eat out more during this time of year. I'm assuming with the hustle and bustle of the season, social festivities and kids programs.... (cough) who doesn't take advantage of the McDonald's drive through? After all, they are seasonally offering all size coffees for $1 and I see that seasonal McRib pictured on the restaurant windows AND in my dreams. As convenient as it is, it's also a terrible habit that takes place of a good home cooked meal that offers whole foods, veggies included. Oh....and don't forget the family time around the dinner table!! Home isn't the only destination compromised during this season. Another location sparse in attendance is the gym. Good for people like me....being able to jump on any piece of equipment I want and watch any TV station offered. BUT it's terrible for many who are avoiding the gym because it's not a priority until the New Year hits. I will talk about the crowds at the gym at the start of a new year another time.....because it's actually a little silly that our humanistic ways tend to go from no health in December to full force "start over" in January..... A cycle that seems to repeat for many. In my 20+ years being involved with gyms, December has always been a slow month for traffic. My point to you today is this: if you are someone who needs to take a break from the hustle, the crowds, the stress, the Christmas cookies, and the urge to hibernate it all away......then December at the gym is for you. It's a Christmas present. A present of health. It's peace. Peace from the man made craziness of spending money and eating tons of baked goods. I picture that sweet Baby Jesus born in a stable. It was raw. No glitz. No glamour, besides the sight of angels and the glow of a newborn Savior. Pure. Although our season of celebrating can be done right (family, blessing others, children celebrating, gifting and memories), sometimes we need to reel it in a bit when we start to feel the negative effects (stress, frustration, tiredness, etc). I'm sure most of us need to "reel it in" a little bit....or a lot. Take a shot at dedicating some time at those meaningful places that are less frequented during this season. Make a true effort. Home. The gym. The needy neighbor. Volunteer at the pantry, shelter or church. It's pure. It's stress free. It's healthy for the body and soul. But mostly, it will make the biggest impact! December weekly challenge: Perform 100 push-ups this week. Modify form to knees instead of on toes...if needed. Perform 50 alternating lunges this week. (Take a break between every 10-20 reps) Do this whole challenge 2x this week. Bonus: visit MVP this week. Take an indoor "warm" walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Have a GREAT week! Rachel Zimmerman, Certified Personal Trainer and Life Coach ACE/NSCA Wife, Mother, and Friend

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