When it comes to the holidays, everyone seems to be short on everything: time, money, patience, you name it. We are, however, enjoying longer lines and longer wait times! With all of this in mind, fitness can easily be put on the back burner. There are parties to attend, various people to shop for, and light shows to see, so it’s safe to say that spending hours at the gym is not something most people are doing this time of year. Now come January, that’s a different story!
Putting a Fitness Spin on a Holiday Tradition
Our staff have found various ways of putting a fitness spin on an old holiday tradition. It’s a program called the 12 Days of Fitness, and it works really well to get people moving during this busy season. When you think of 12 days, it doesn’t seem like a long time—and frankly, that’s exactly the point! Yet, 12 days of burning calories, educating people, and having some fun can have a positive impact for the participants.
We’ve had several sites record a 100% completion rate for this program, and we think the key to success is making each day count with simple but impactful activities and including something that is truly encouraging for the participants.
12 Tips for Creating a Holiday Fitness Program
Below are our 12 best tips for how you can create your own fun and effective 12 Days of Fitness program.
- Offer quick yet challenging workouts since time is of the essence during the holidays. Short 10 to 20-minute classes or challenges will get people in and out. Tis the season to be efficient and effective!
- Let’s face it: prizes both pull people in and keep them coming back. Have a daily drawing or a daily competition where one prize is offered on each day of the program. Keep the prizes health and fitness related to further emphasize a healthy outlook.
- Hosting lunchtime classes or activities gives associates an alternative to those not-so-healthy holiday luncheons or parties. The potential for binging is everywhere; why not create your 12 Days of Fitness as a respite for employees looking for a healthier escape?
- Get creative with classes or activities that you offer. Provide the participants with exercises they can easily do at home, or offer new and exciting ones to keep them out of an exercise rut. You might try dance-style classes or incorporate an exercise scavenger hunt in your facility.
- Use the program as a learning experience. Show participants healthy recipes or even host a healthy holiday party offering samples of modified or low-calorie snacks, appetizers, main dishes, and drinks.
- Make participants accountable. Post the exercise or activity of the day and require that the staff sign off when it has been completed.
- Encourage associates who work at home to participate. Send them emails with exercise pictures or video demonstrations. It’s important for people to know they always have time to squeeze some activity into their day no matter where they are located.
- If you’re focused on getting employees into your corporate fitness center, require that some of the exercises and activities be performed in the facility. This also gives you a chance to see and speak with the participants.
- Incorporate stress reduction and relaxation into the program. You can do this by offering educational materials on these topics, or more interactive things like hosting a free yoga class or 10-minute chair massages.
- Add a personal touch. Send out emails or make phone calls to check in with participants who have missed a day or one of the required activities or exercises.
- Incorporate teamwork into the program. Similar to our Maintain Not Gain program, working with a partner can increase the chances of success. You can do this in the classes you offer; you can require a partner for certain exercises, or even add a referral component where participants encourage nonmembers to join and participate.
- Celebrate their accomplishment! Being successful is key, but everyone can feel a sense of accomplishment if managed correctly. Besides the daily drawings, offer all successful participants something at the end of the program. This can be a prize, but it can also be wrapping the successful participants’ names around some lights and words of encouragement for all to see. Make your participants feel proud of sticking to a healthy routine during the holidays. They’ll surely thank you later, and might even ask for more programs like
If you’re not offering a holiday program, this just might be your key to keeping participation numbers up and the pounds and stress levels down. Use some of the above ideas for developing your own 12 Days of Fitness and see what kind of difference you can make this season.