How I Stay Fit and Healthy During the Holidays, by Lindsay Ellingson
’Tis the season to break out your holiday décor, enjoy hot cocoa on a snowy day, bake cookies and pies, shop until you drop, and get ready for your holiday parties! I absolutely love this time of year, but with it come plenty of temptations and indulgences. I don't believe in restricting myself too much or dieting. Life is meant to be enjoyed, and for me it’s all about a healthy balance. Here are a few ways I stay motivated to work out when the weather gets cold and also some of my favourite tricks to indulge without looking like I have!
The chill is just starting to set in in New York City. When it does, I find that sometimes I need that extra push to leave my warm apartment and head to the gym. However, I have the perfect solution: hot yoga. Luckily, my studio, Yoga 216 in West Chelsea, offers heated yoga classes. Owner Nicole Katz says, “The winter months can be a time of stagnation for many, and the heat helps to challenge us and get things going, which is imperative to fighting the sluggishness! Heated yoga is a lovely way to feel a deep sense of warmth during the winter months, when at times that feeling is very far away no matter how many layers we put on! When practicing heated yoga during the winter, it is very important to put on extra layers before going back out into the cold so you don’t shock your system.”
The 30°C heat is safer for your muscles, makes it much easier to warm up, and allows you to stretch further into the poses (like my headstand splits here), resulting in a more intense workout. To stay warm before and after class, I like to wear my handmade Quoddy Twinstrap Boots—they're so cozy!
Another great option for working out during the cold winter months is to stay right at home! Mary Helen Bowers, founder of Ballet Beautiful, offers a variety of DVDs, from Swan Arms ($16) to Cardio Fat Burn ($11) and Total Body Workout ($11). She also has pre- and postnatal workouts called Ballet Baby. If you like the motivation of working out in a group, you can sign up for her live online classes. So no matter what I’m in the mood for, I can get an intense workout that will elongate my muscles and keep me in shape in the comfort of my own home.
I recently tried a unique treatment called “Cell Detox” using infrared heat technology. It’s offered at Ildi Pekar’s Salon, where I regularly get facials. Ildi has many body treatments that will get you in shape fast and help detox your body. She says, “Getting a detox can be beneficial for your body beyond just weight loss. If you are experiencing poor circulation, slow metabolism, breakouts, and fatigue, infrared cell detox is powerful enough to penetrate the deeper layers of your body to deliver a lighter and slimmer result, burning up to 1400 calories per session. It also stimulates the sweat glands to cleanse and detoxify the body of accumulated toxins and metabolic wastes.”
I was wrapped like a burrito in the infrared blanket, which was heated to about 43°C but can be adjusted according to your comfort level. I laid there for 30 minutes, and when the treatment was over I felt lighter, relaxed, and much more energised the next day. It’s a great treatment to do after the New Year or before a holiday vacation!
I was recently introduced to Dr. Singha’s Mustard Seed Bath ($11). Just a couple scoops of this highly alkaline, essential oil–infused bath soak will purify the body and restore a healthy pH. The warmth of mustard gently opens your pores and assists in the elimination of impurities. I like to soak in a hot bath for at least 15 minutes in the evening and then take a cold shower. It’s especially great after a sweets- and champagne-filled holiday party. You’ll sleep like a baby and wake up as fresh as a daisy!
I regularly drink fresh ginger tea. I was introduced to it by a Chinese herbalist. The health benefits are endless! It remedies heartburn, indigestion, and nausea and is also anti-inflammatory (just to name a few benefits). I slice and peel fresh ginger, add it to a saucepan with water, and let it boil for 15 minutes. For me, it’s especially great after a large meal or a night out. It warms your body to aid in digestion and quickly soothes any gastrointestinal distress. If you don’t have time to make your own ginger tea, I recommend sipping Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Tea ($6) this season to keep your body running smoothly.
What do you do to recover post–holiday party? Share your tips below!