Do you have a sweet tooth? Between Halloween, Thanksgiving, and December-long celebrations, it’s difficult to dodge all of the delicious, yet diet-demolishing, dishes and drinks. But as we venture further into the holiday season, it’s worth considering the physical consequences of prolonged pigging out.

Snacking on sweets seems innocent enough. And when done in moderation, it is a harmless habit. However, the holidays tend to be a critical and particularly pivotal time for weight gain because bad behaviors are hard to break after the festivities. Many mindless munchers may pack on the pounds throughout the winter months, when motivation to stay fit and eat well dwindles.

Over time, overeating and inactivity will cause weight gain, which raises the risk for developing an increasingly common, yet largely preventable disease: type 2 diabetes.

In addition to limiting sugar-spiking foods this season, exercise is an incredibly effective agent for managing weight gain, and ultimately preventing type 2 diabetes.

Blood sugar naturally increases after eating, making it an ideal time to exercise. Because physical activity can cause an initial spike in glucose, it’s important for those who are prediabetic or have diabetes to measure blood sugar levels before and after exercise. For those taking medication, suffering from hand or foot numbness associated with peripheral neuropathy, or if you have any uncertainty at all about exercise, always consult your physician before starting a new routine.

Your daily goal should be to move. And although all forms of exercise encourage weight management and cardiovascular health, and boost insulin sensitivity, a high-intensity interval training workout can help the muscles metabolize extra glucose faster than most low-intensity routines. These quick bursts of movement can also aid in balancing blood sugar levels long after your workout is complete.

All you need is 15 minutes, three days a week, to experience the benefits of this HIIT workout. For best results, remember to incorporate cardio exercises such as walking, jogging, or cycling for 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week, too.

You will need a yoga mat or soft surface for this workout. Repeat the entire circuit three times.

Sumo squats

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart at about a 45-degree angle.
  • With your body weight in your heels, inhale as you hinge back at your hips and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Exhale as you push through your heels to return to a standing position. Squeeze your glutes at the top. Repeat 10 times.
Sumo squat
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Sumo squat

Plank rotations

  • Come down to the floor and rest on your right side, propping yourself up on your right forearm. Keep your legs stacked and shoulders aligned above elbows as you use your core strength to lift your hips until they form a straight line from head to feet. Lift your left arm into the air.
  • Hold until balanced then slowly rotate to bring your left arm down and shift your body into a standard plank with both forearms on the floor.
  • Remain in this pose for two counts, then rotate on to your left forearm for a side plank. Hold this position for two counts. Continue this side plank/standard plank rotation for five total reps.
Plank rotations
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Plank rotations

Mountain climbers

  • From the floor, lift your body up into a hand-dominant plank position with shoulders stacked are over hands and spine straight.
  • Quickly drive your right knee up toward your chest then switch legs, swiftly pulling your left knee to your chest. Continue for 30 seconds.
Mountain climbers
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Mountain climbers

Jumping jacks: Stand tall and rapidly pump the arms and legs for 30 seconds.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more about her virtual training program, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.