Active Steps: Staying active during Mardi Gras season

You've made your New Year's resolution to exercise more often. You've made it through January and you've settled into your new exercise routine – congratulations! As those pounds slowly come off and your energy gradually increases, you're feeling really good. But then it's February, and King Cake and Mardi Gras season are fully upon us. How can you balance having fun with staying active?

While it's important to maintain a regular workout routine, sometimes the seasonal festivities get in the way. If you miss a day of your exercise routine, don't fret. You can add small amounts of activity to things you do in your regular day. Remember, these tips don't replace your workout routine, but help to add calorie-burning, energy-boosting activity throughout your whole day. Take a look at the tips below to get some ideas:

1. Avoid sitting too much. Research shows that, sitting for long periods of time can negatively affect your health. Even if you exercise regularly, sitting for too long can reduce the health benefits of exercise, increasing your risk for chronic diseases. Try taking walking breaks: set an alarm on your phone for every hour and take a 5- to 10-minute walk. Maybe even do 10 jumping jacks to really get your heart rate going.

2. No place to walk at work or home? Practice chair exercises when you have to sit for long periods of time. Click here to check out some chair exercises from the American Diabetes Association. Try doing one or two exercises every hour throughout your day.

3. Drink lots of water throughout the day. This tip will not directly increase your activity during the day, but you will definitely have to get up and walk to the bathroom more often. Plus, drinking more water – instead of soda or sugar-added drinks – will help keep your body healthy and energized.

Going to a Mardi Gras parade? Below are a couple tips for turning parade-watching into a mini workout.

4. Walk or bike to add activity and avoid parking. Remember to stay safe. If biking, always wear a helmet and use bike lights at night. Be aware of your surroundings and travel in groups.

5. Again, stand instead of sit while watching the parade. Bring your chair but only sit for short intervals.

Now get out there and enjoy festival season in a healthy way!

By Megan Hall, MPH, Tulane Dietetic Intern
February 2017

Exercise & Sport Sciences Reviews
American Diabetes Association, Diabetes Forecast

(Photo courtesy of Megan Hall. Active Steps is a recurring feature that appears in the Tulane PRC's e-newsletters and covers fitness and physical activity tips. If you have any suggestions for Active Steps topics, please contact Naomi Englar at or 504-988-7410.)

Topics:   physical activity , walking , biking

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