As your to-do list grows longer during the holiday season, it’s understandable that your workout may be on the chopping block at times. But don’t let your lack of time get in the way of staying physically active. Even if you can’t stick to your usual routine, there are ways to make time for exercise at this time of year – you may just have to be a bit creative or rearrange your priorities.

There are many good reasons to make time to exercise. For one, you know it’s good for your health. Regular exercise is good for your heart, joints, waistline and just about every other part of your body. Physical activity is also one of the best ways to burn off the extra calories you’re consuming at this time of the year. As an added bonus, exercise is a good stress-reliever so it may help you better handle the demands thrown your way at this time of year.

So how do you fit in fitness time during the busy holiday season? These ideas may help:

Start your day with a sweat sesh. A study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sport and Exercise shows that women who worked out in the morning moved more during the rest of the day and had fewer food cravings. Plus, you won’t be sidetracked by an over-packed schedule if you get your workout in before your day gets hectic.

Plan ahead. If you’re travelling, look into what your options are for working out while out of town. Does the hotel have a gym? Are there walking trails nearby? Bring your sneakers and you’re sure to find some way to be active.

Organize family activities. Planning a holiday meal or party? Incorporate an activity into the festivities instead of just spending the entire time eating and drinking. Play a game of touch football, take a pre-dinner walk around the neighborhood or set up a Wii tournament in the basement.

Learn to say no. You don’t need to say yes to every invitation or request that comes your way. If your schedule is too busy, it’s okay to say no to the things you don’t really want to do. When you are more selective about what winds up on your calendar, you have more time to do things you want.

Schedule your workout. If you put your workout in your calendar, you make it as important as any other activity that may fill your time. And you’re less likely to schedule something else in its place.

Find small bits of downtime. Even if there are days when you can’t get to the gym or get in a run, you can still find snippets of time throughout the day to get in some activity. Shopping? Take an extra stroll around the mall. Standing in line? Do a few squats. Preparing a holiday meal? Put on some music and dance while cooking. Every bit of activity counts!