Healthy for the Holidays: Making Exercise Easy

As we approach the beginning of the holiday season, even the most health conscious among us struggle to stay on track with diet and exercise. Treats are in abundance and time seems to evaporate as holiday preparations begin; even the simplest errand can take much more time than expected due to gridlock traffic and parking headaches.

Luckily, Victoria Chiropractor Dr. Stephanie Louie has good news for those strapped for time, but still wanting to fit regular exercise into their week. All you need is 12 minutes! Studies show that surge training, also called burst training, is often healthier and more beneficial than aerobic, long-distance endurance activities, such as marathon training or long, intense bike rides.

“You don’t need to do a 40-minute workout,” Dr. Louie says. “It’s not about the quantity, it’s about the quality of movement and quality of energy production.”

New cutting-edge research shows that long-distance endurance exercise can be unhealthy for the heart, as it elevates the body’s cortisol (a stress hormone) levels, blood pressure and heart rate for an extended period of time. Too much cortisol over a long period of time can result in the formation of plaque in the arteries, creating hardened arteries and heart disease.

Therefore, Dr. Louie recommends high-intensity interval or burst training, where you go all out for short spurts. This helps use up energy stores quickly. She suggests doing this for 12-minutes, 20 intense seconds on and 20 seconds off, where you are still moving but not with the same intensity. Beginners might want to start out doing this for five or six minutes, once or twice a week. Those with a high fitness level can complete two or three rounds in a workout.

One thing that makes this exercise convenient is that while you can go to the gym or a track, you don’t need to. These short workouts can include push-ups, squats (or chair squats), high-knees, jumping jacks, boxing in place, pumping arms in the air, skipping, running in place, sprinting, or biking. Whichever workout you choose, prepare to sweat a lot, which is good for releasing toxins from the body.

“I always feel energized after this – with the release of endorphins and good hormones,” says Dr. Louie, who counsels her Chiropractic patients on fitness at her Saanich Chiropractic Practice, Mind Body Spine.

Another benefit to high-intensity interval training over endurance exercise is that it builds muscle, which increases your metabolism and you see a bit more muscle definition. Whereas endurance training can lead to people using muscle as an energy source and therefore muscle wasting can occur, adds Dr. Louie.

At Mind Body Spine, Dr. Louie takes a holistic approach to healing that includes chiropractic treatment, nutrition counselling, exercise and positive thinking.

To learn more about chiropractic care, check out Dr. Stephanie’s Louie’s website: She provides relief for back pain – you don’t need to suffer.


The suggestions and advice provided by Dr. Louie should not be relied upon in place of a Chiropractor professional assessment.