With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, everybody is busier than ever. But though your schedule is a bit tight, you may want to make time for exercise, as according to a study featured on ScienceDaily.com, it can help you de-stress and relax.

Erica Christ, an exercise physiologist at the Greenwich Hospital's Weight Loss and Diabetes Center, explains how physical activity can help you shake off those holiday anxieties. "When times get crazy, the thing people give up is exercise, and that's the key thing a person needs. When a person is excitable from stress, the burst of energy that you get from exercise can help burn the adrenaline off and calm you down. Exercise allows you time to focus, and gives you a sense of mindfulness that makes the other pieces of your life fall into place."

Aside from endorphins or the “happy hormones” that working out produces, exercise also increases dopamine, a neurotransmitter that has anti-depressant effects. These help you lift your mood, especially when traffic and crowded malls start getting you cranky. Christ personally favors Pilates, as it highlights both physical strengthening and mental focus. The easiest and probably most time-friendly exercise you can do on a daily basis without worrying about having to attend formal classes would be brisk walking and running. These can be incorporated at any time of the day, and there are many places in the metro or near your home that are conducive for them.

The point is to discipline yourself to exercise in spite of the holiday rush. Complement it with a good, controlled diet, and don’t try at all to lose weight during this season of yumminess-- maintain it instead. This way, not only will you be able to de-stress but you also won’t have any regrets about eating too much during Noche Buena once Christmas is over.

(Photo by jmehre via Flickr Creative Commons)

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