Joan Oberndorf | November 19th, 2012 | Posted in How To, News, Wellness

The holidays often mean closed studios and fewer options.  What’s a dancer to do?

heartwarming, and on 24/7

Here come the holidays…”your” studio is closed, there are candies and cookies tempting you everywhere you go, and the yearly “It’s a Wonderful Life” marathon is starting on TV. Not a happy prospect for those of us who thrive on a routine of class and (mostly) healthy food to keep our brains sane and our bodies in shape.  Here’s a few ideas to help you through the holidays.

  Class part one:  Go somewhere else

Yes, Virginia, some studios ARE open over the holidays (though often with an abbreviated schedule).  I even know of a few select classes happening the day after Thanksgiving.  Get on the internet and see what you can find.  Shameless self promotion here-I’m teaching a few classes during the week of Xmas and New Year;  I did this last year and it was fun for everyone.  It’s a chance to feel virtuous (look at me, I’m actually in class over break) and festive, since holiday classes often have a more relaxed, fun vibe.  Plus there’s the camaraderie factor- a “hey we’re all in this together” feeling.

Class part two: give yourself class

It’s notthat hard to give yourself a barre-all you need is a bit of space and the back of a chair, or maybe a desk or table to hang on to.  Stretching/crunches/etc. can be done in front of the TV (see “It’s a Wonderful Life” marathon above).  No, it’s not the same, and yes, you really should take class regularly, but working out on your own will make coming back in 2013 MUCH less painful (physically and psychically)-the rule of thumb is that for every day without class you need a day with class to get back into shape.  Take two weeks off and that’s a looong road brother.  Trust me, you owe it to yourself to at least stay in quasi shape.

Working out: accessible, possible, go do it

Into the pool

Working out (hey, get that look off your face) is also a great way to keep your body from going into holiday hibernation.  Contrary to popular belief, dancers do not dissolve like the Wicked Witch when they hit the pool, and a stint on the elliptical or a few rounds of weight work is good for you!  Chicago park district facilities usually have open hours with workout centers and pool hours too.  In the past they’ve offered use of their facilities free of charge to Chicago residents over the holidays; I personally hope they continue this program, but even if they don’t their regular rates are so reasonable that it’s worth it.  They have locations all over the city, check www.chicagoparkdistrict.com to find one near you.  Some clubs will also offer you a day rate to use their facilities.

Food/drink:

This is common sense but it’s worth saying-use common sense (duh) with what you ingest over the holidays.  Don’t deprive yourself, as you will probably go home and break into that stash of Twinkies and Ho-hos you’ve been hoarding since you heard the Hostess plant was closing.

farewell old friend

It’s ok to enjoy a bit of this, a little of that, a glass of wine or a small cup of eggnog.  Moderation is key.  Afterwards you can go home, set out your workout clothes for the next day’s chosen activity, and settle in to watch It’s a Wonderful Life one more time.  Happy Holidays to all!