Let’s face it, the ‘festive season’ is unlikely ever to be renamed the ‘fitness season,’ because for many people it is all about working like crazy to meet end-of-year deadlines, then attending end-of-year functions, followed by taking time off from work, relaxing as much as possible, partying up a storm and eating like there’s no January! No wonder so many exhausted people just plant themselves on the sofa with the remote in hand – and no wonder that waistlines expand, followed by the inevitable New Year’s resolutions to get back into shape.
However, it really is easy to turn things around with just a bit of exercise each day, which will help you relax, reduce or eliminates stress, control your weight, and give you more energy. Studies show that you can achieve good results if you exercise for shorter periods by increasing the intensity of your workouts. So, to stay active this festive season and avoid needing to make any fitness-based resolutions, try these quick but effective ways to sneak in short blasts of exercise to help you stay energised, keep the weight off and start your New Year feeling bright and beautiful.
1. Exercise early: With all the eating and drinking to come, a run, walk, ride, swim or workout in the morning will set you up for the day in the right frame of mind – and prevent that heavy, drowsy feeling later in the day stopping you from getting in some exercise.
2. Get the family going: Take the family out for a walk or a ride to see the sights instead of driving around in a car, and when you go running, let the kids ride alongside on their bikes.
3. Walk the dog: Ensuring that Fido gets the exercise he needs also helps you get out the front door. It’s a win-win!
4. Get cross-training: Try new activities like body boarding, rollerblading, sea-kayaking, stand up paddling – all great holiday activities that will also give you a good workout. And throw in some laps of the pool when cooling off in between the tanning. (Don’t forget that sun-screen!)
5. Explore: Use your runs or bike rides to explore new areas and enjoy the adventure of running or riding where you have never been before. (Just make sure you know your way home again.)
6. Join the Locals: Many holiday towns have races or fun events over the festive season, so check out the local event calendar. Also, find out about running, cycling or swimming club runs in the area you are visiting and make some new fitness friends.
7. Turn errands into exercise: Walk to the grocery store instead of driving, and take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
8. Dance up a storm: Get on the dance floor and show everyone your best moves. Not only will you be burning kilojoules, but more dancing means less nibbling and drinking!
9. Walk it off: Enjoy the warm summer evenings and go for a walk around the neighbourhood after dinner. This helps to keep your metabolism high so you burn more kilojoules while you sleep.
10 Enjoy some me-time: It’s a time to be surrounded by family and friends, but when you feel the need to get away for some quiet time, nothing beats some solo exercise.
It may be the season to be merry, but it is also a season to take care of your body, mind and soul. Just a little bit of planning can help you turn it into a fitness-friendly season as well, and enter the New Year feeling energised and ready to rock the world!
Oh, and a final tip: Drink a glass of water before you start snacking or sit down for a meal. Not only will you be better hydrated and healthier overall, but you will be slightly fuller and thus unlikely to overindulge too much on all those kilojoules. Now go have some fun!