Stay fit through the holidays

By Karen Abernathy – bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, weight gain is a big concern for a lot of people. It's estimated that most people gain between four and ten pounds during the holiday season. That annual weight gain adds up quickly over the years.

That's why fitness experts say it's important to increase your exercise now, to avoid weight gain later.

Whether you head to the gym, or take a walk around the block, stepping up your exercise program can make a big difference.

A lot of South Mississippians aren't waiting for their New Year's Resolution to get in shape. Anne Gaston recently joined Snap Fitness in Gulfport.

"I though I'd get a head start," Gaston said. "I'm not waiting until January first."

We caught up with Katrina Givan on the treadmill.

"I plan to work out as much as possible, trying to avoid the weight gain," Givan said. "I know with all that good food over the holidays, I might put on extra pounds."

Snap Fitness owner and Kineseology expert Bruce Jackson said having goals makes a huge difference.

"In order to get results, you have to stick with it and set your goals," Jackson said.

Those goals can help you avoid weight gain, and get you in better shape.

Vincent Keyhea has been a professional trainer on the coast for years and has helped a lot of people get in shape. He said the holidays can be a battle for many people.

"Most people don't gain 20 pounds in one year," Keyhea said. "People gain five pounds one year during the holidays, five pounds the next, and that adds up to ten pounds, fifteen pounds, all of a sudden you've gained 20."

He said that's why it's important to come up with a plan now, to avoid weight gain later.

"The more you eat, the more you work. It's intake vs exhaust. Simple math. You have to work it off."

A growing number of 24/7 gyms along the coast are making fitness easier.

"It's the convenience factor," Jackson said. "A lot of people work late, a lot of people have two jobs now."

The good news is, you don't have to give up the foods you love during the holidays, as long as you make fitness a priority. That's something U.S. Marine Michael Givan does every day, and it pays off.

"A lot of people are on the Atkins Diet or some other kind of diet," Givan said. "I'm on the I work out six days a week and run 20 miles a week diet. So I eat what I want to and work it off."

We may not all be able to reach that level, but most of us are able to increase our exercise enough to avoid the dreaded extra pounds.

And while a gym is a great place get you on the right track, you don't have to join a gym to stay in shape. Come up with your own plan. It can be as simple as walking.

©2009 WLOX. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.