Gym attendance plummets in November and December, reports the International Health, Racquet, and Sportsclub Association. But working up a sweat is especially important during these months. "Not only does exercise burn calories," says Bermudez, "it also boosts mood and tames stress." And that's an especially good thing, since a recent survey from the American Psychological Association revealed that 41 percent of women say they turn to food to soothe their frazzled nerves during the holidays. Try hitting the treadmill instead: A study from Britain's Loughborough University found that people who ran for an hour experienced a greater dip in their hunger level than those who lifted weights for 90 minutes. Researchers say aerobic exercise boosts the production of peptide YY, a protein shown to suppress appetite.
No time to get to the gym for your workout routines?
Sneak in a little exercise by taking a fastpaced stroll around the neighborhood before work, popping in a dance DVD, or doing one of the three 15-minute cardio workouts.
Still, even if you do fit in a good workout, don't use that as a free pass to load up on snickerdoodles. "One exercise session won't immediately cancel out the hundreds of extra calories you consume," says Richter. If you know you're going to be tempted, she recommends tacking on an extra 10 or 15 minutes to your normal routine.
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