So much food and drink, so little time to exercise...

The holiday season poses a double threat to the calorie-conscious. It's bad enough that there's an overabundance of food and drink tempting us at every turn. But because there are so many extra demands on our time -- gift buying, card-writing, decorating, socializing -- sticking to one's workout schedule can seem next to impossible. That's the problem for many of us: We're suddenly taking in more calories but burning fewer of them.

If holiday preparations have you crunched for time, don't despair -- and don't berate yourself for not following a picture-perfect exercise schedule. Instead, look for smaller opportunities to burn calories this season. For example:

  • Exercise for 20 minutes. If you can't fit in your usual 45-minute workout, go for a mini-version. It's better than not working out at all. A short workout can also help reduce stress.
  • Walk through your errands. At the mall, park far away. Deliver holiday cards to neighbors' mailboxes on foot. Take the stairs instead of the escalator.
  • Make physical activity a social event. Get together with family and friends in a setting that'll get you all moving: a walk through the woods, a touch-football game, an afternoon at the ice rink.