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“Slowing down is so important for women … we have to learn to turn down the noise and the chaos.”
You might recognize Brooke Burke from her many TV appearances — she’s hosted shows like Dancing With the Stars, She’s Got the Look, and Wild On! — but in recent years, she’s devoted herself to a flourishing career as a fitness instructor. Using her sizable social media platform and her site Brooke Burke Body, the 51-year-old shares engaging and accessible workout content for women at all ages and fitness levels. With the holiday season in full swing, Burke told us her three major tips for staying in shape during this busy time of year, plus she provided a gift guide for the exercise lovers in your life.
From shopping to decorating to baking, there’s so much going on during the holidays that maintaining a consistent workout routine can be challenging — but not impossible. “I think it’s a really important time to balance out all the stress and find things that feel good and ways to work out at home,” says Burke. She currently has a program called Holiday Handful, a free series of livestreamed Zoom classes that are easy to participate in. These classes make use of things you’d find at home — like a kitchen counter — so you can easily work out in between family time or preparing meals. “We’re giving so much as women during the holidays,” Brooke continues. “As a younger mom, the holidays were always about the kids, the family, the in-laws. And I still love all that, but we also need to take time to give back to ourselves.”
When it comes to holiday fitness, Brooke wanted to create a program to encourage and inspire people to “hold themselves accountable and stay on track.” She also suggests putting a positive spin on exercise moves that may intimidate you. “We started a sweet program this holiday season called Thanks and Planks,” she explains. “Planks are something that’s really challenging. Everybody hates planks — I don’t love them either, but they have so many benefits for the body. So, we’re using all 10 fingers to step into gratitude and to chant 10 things you’re grateful for while you’re in your plank position.” Rather than avoiding this oft-dreaded exercise, use it as an opportunity to practice positive thinking.
With a new year on the horizon, many of us will start making resolutions to get back into shape come January. But Burke cautions against pegging all your fitness expectations to the new year. “I encourage everyone to commit to a program this holiday season and not wait until New Year’s,” she says. According to Burke, December is the perfect time to take stock of your fitness goals and “find something that feels good and that’s fun.” So often, New Year’s resolutions around fitness feel like work; but Burke encourages people to bring a sense of curiosity and play to the process. “Try new things,” she advises. “You have to mix it up. Otherwise fitness is boring.”
Some of us don’t love working out — and that’s okay! Don’t force yourself to do something you hate. Instead, try to make exercise accessible by finding a type of workout or movement that feels good to you, and stick to a routine without putting too much pressure on it. “You won’t stick to a program if it’s not fun,” Burke points out.
Burke is a big advocate of practicing mindfulness. She acknowledges that the holidays are stressful for many people, and suggests you try her own preferred method of warding off anxiety: taking five minutes each morning before you start the day “to set yourself up and get your head in the right space.” No matter how busy you are, you can likely devote at least a few minutes to focus on your breathing and check in on how you’re feeling physically and mentally. These pauses are essential to well-being.
“I learned that slowing down is so important for women,” Brooke says. “Everybody needs something, and we have to learn to turn down the noise and the chaos a little bit.” While she recognizes that this is easier said than done, Brooke also believes that taking a few moments to recharge is a vital step in self-care.
As someone who has dedicated herself to wellness, Burke has a variety of fitness-related gift recommendations for this holiday season. Here are six of her top picks (besides a subscription to Brooke Burke Body, of course!), plus the reasons why she loves them.
“There are so many opportunities to give the gift of health and wellness,” Burke concludes. So, whether you’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or something else this time of year, find a moment to take a deep breath, do a casual workout, and choose gifts that encourage healthy living.
Originally Published on womansworld.com