The New England Journal of Medicine reports that on average, Americans gain between 7-10 pounds from Thanksgiving thru New Year's Eve.

The holiday season is quickly approaching, which means our focus is more on spending time with  family and possibly less time at the gym. It’s a great time to change up (add to) your fitness routine. Here are 10 easy ways for you and your family to avoid weight gain during the holidays.

Pre and or post dinner walks

Much like what you experienced at core, you can easily turn this event into an interval exercise whether it is a walk/fast walk or fast walk/run. Either way, you are burning more calories than you would just sitting on the couch and walking back to the kitchen for another helping right! A good brisk walk also helps with digestion, in case you need another positive point to seal the deal.

Crank up the music & boogie down

Some of the best family memories I have are when we would turn on the music in the house and have a good old family dance off. You don’t have to be a good dancer, just get moving. Listening to music also relieves stress and increases the release of endorphins.

Make a game out of household chores

Cleaning up around the house is rarely ever fun. Why not make a game out of it. This is a great way to get things done around the house and burn some extra calories! For example, see who can fold the laundry fastest.

Sneak workouts into other activities

Most of us will be doing a lot of holiday shopping in the coming months. This is a great opportunity to sneak in some extra exercise. There are many ways you accomplish this, such as, parking far away from stores, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. This can even be done with everyday events, not just holiday shopping. For instance, you can drive the kid’s part of the way to school and walk the rest of the way.

Turn TV commercials into fitness breaks

There is a great product of fitness flashcards that premade and can be ordered through www.fitdeck.com. Have one person select a card from the deck, and everyone had to do the exercise or exercises before the commercial break is over. Make up your own cards/rules.

Have a weekly sports night

Make Wednesday nights a flag football game. If the weather isn’t the best, then pull out the Wii Games. Have everyone stand up and play. It can be a board game like Twister. Get creative and keep Game Night going!

Walk or Run for charity

One of my favorite things to do is run for different charities. This gives you something to train for and build up your endurance. It also helps others and is an activity for the whole family. There are a lot of fun walk/run events coming up with the holidays approaching like Turkey Trots or Jingle Bell Runs. A great tool to use is www.active.com to different races in your area.

Family yard work

As autumn approaches, so do the colorful leaves. Make a game out of seeing who can catch/collect the most yellow, red, orange leaves. Who can rank the most leaves (there may have to be a prize of course). If there is already snow in your area you can make it game to see who can shovel their portion of the sidewalk first and make the most snow angels.

Team up for gardening

For those of you in the more neutral climate, you can team up and tackle the flower beds or plant your own veggies. Gardening can be a great workout, there is always a lot of digging, squatting and lifting to be done. Research has shown gardening to be as affective as weight training when it comes to preventing osteoporosis.

Walk the dog

Let’s not forget our furry friends. They need exercise too! According to the North American Association on the study of Obesity,  dog owners had more fun losing weight and were able to keep it off longer than non-dog owners.

Anything can be turned into a fun game or fitness activity.

The most important thing to remember is that doing something is better than nothing. Just keep moving!