It’s easy to lose focus of nutrition and fitness during the holidays, with a demanding schedule of parties, festivities and travel. To make matters worse, the stress of the holiday season can often result in weight gain. So it’s important to stay on track with your health and fitness goals during this time of year. 

Remember that the body releases “feel good” hormones during increased physical activity, so try a simple exercise routine to combat holiday stress. Here are five tips to help you to avoid packing on the holiday pounds: 

1. Be creative. If you don’t have time for a traditional workout, then improvise to increase your activity time. Walk faster while shopping, park in the farthest space from the shops and use the stairs instead of the lift. 

2. Travel planning. Stay at a hotel with a gym or pre-book exercise classes in your destination city. If you are staying with family, plan activities together. Bonding while on a hike or walking the family dog beats sitting inside and snacking. 

3. Be prepared. Be sure to pack exercise clothes and shoes. Take a resistance band with you and use mobile fitness apps, websites and DVDs during your trip. 

4. Keep track. Set a goal of at least 30 minutes of activity every day and keep track of your progress. You can accumulate exercise minutes throughout the day to meet your target. 

5. Set a challenge with friends. It’s easier to stick with your plan if you enlist friends and family for competition and support.