Holiday crunch – 'tis the season for a fast fitness routine

I LOVE THE holidays and the opportunities they bring to reconnect with friends and family. But all the hustle and bustle, the parties and the overconsumption of holiday spirits and treats can get you off your game. Time's the one gift you can't give or receive, so how to stay on track?

You can do it if you have just 20 to 30 minutes a day. Drop the excuses, and let's get working! Here are three routines to fit even the most hectic schedule.

WALKING FIT: I know it's not sexy, but walking really rocks! Bring a friend or partner, enjoy a hot cup of joe, and never miss a step. Walking is by far the most practical cardiovascular workout, and nearly everyone can do it. Low-impact by design, it's significantly less stressful to your body and joints. There's no equipment required, besides a pair of walking shoes.

Walk at a comfortable pace; walk faster or longer to burn calories. Sure, you could run, too, if that's your thing. But walking offers the same benefits without the increased risk running often brings.

CARDIO/STRENGTH INTERVAL TRAINING: This routine works every major muscle, incorporates compound movements that work your upper and lower body simultaneously, and can be performed inside or outdoors.

These are primarily body-weight exercises; up the ante with a medicine ball, elastic bands, or dumbbells. Do each of these exercises for two minutes; cut back to one-minute intervals if needed: Jump rope; push ups; alternating forward lunge with bicep curls; crunches with medicine ball; bent-over row; jumping jacks; triceps push-ups; squat jumps; alternating lunge with shoulder press; plank (yoga pose); jump rope; lunge with side raises; squat thrusts; pull-ups; mountain climbers.

This deceptively simple routine really gets the job done!

BALANCE & FLEXIBILITY: Don't we need lots of both to get through the holidays! So be sure to add a little yoga to your routine. It works the body inside and out.

Try holding each of these poses three to five minutes each: chaturanga dandasana (low plank); tree; cat and cow; fire log (crossed-leg sitting). End with eight to 10 minutes of meditation.

The holidays present special challenges to your workout schedule, but you can handle it! Simply do something physically productive with the time you do have. Don't give up or give in.

Kimberly Garrison is a wellness coach and owner of One on One Ultimate Fitness in Philadelphia. Her column appears on the first and third Wednesdays monthly.