Staying fit this Christmas
CHRISTMAS IS truly the season for indulgence. As a result, it can be hard to prioritise staying active, especially when you are juggling a busy social calendar with shopping, baking and attending festive get-togethers.
It is hard enough to exercise the rest of the year, but add holidays to the mix and many of us find exercise becomes less of a priority. The last thing you want is more stress and, for many of us, trying to keep to our usual workout programme does just that.
At the same time, staying active in some way will give you energy. It can also reduce stress and tension and, of course, help mitigate some of the extra calories you may be eating. You can find that balance if you plan ahead and prepare yourself for any eventuality.
According to Shereen Campbell, coordinator at Train Fit Club, to maintain your fitness, persons can join a fitness group, gym or get a personal trainer to keep themselves accountable and ensure that exercises are done in keeping with your needs.
“Exercises can include running or walking for at least 5km or 3.1 miles for a minimum of three days per week. You can choose to do lesser mileage as desired. You can also include weights or other tools to enhance your workout. You can get creative by using 1.5-litre, five-litre water bottles, a mop or broomstick,” Campbell said.
“Exercises can vary during the week. You can check out Fitness Apps or YouTube workouts to decide how to arrange your sets,” she added.
Many people fall off the exercise bandwagon at Christmas, or rule out the idea of getting into shape during the festive period, assuming there is no point in starting until the New Year. But given that one of the biggest barriers to exercise is lack of time, a break from the usual routine can provide the ideal opportunity to begin or maintain physical activity.
Staying active over Christmas not only reduces your chances of gaining weight, it also helps energise you, and gives you a break. “We know it will be hard to resist indulging in all the festivities. However, increased calorie consumption without exercise can lead to weight gain and other medical complications further down the road. Already we are seeing an increase in patients being diagnosed with non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and much more,” Campbell said.
Normally, the festive season is a time for family and friends. You can try changing your normal exercise routine to fun activities the whole family can enjoy. Social exercise does not feel like the regular workout and it gives everyone a chance to participate.
“You can start with good old-fashioned games of netball, football, dandy shandy, 1-2-3 red light, cricket or anything to keep your friends and family engaged and moving and the heart pumping for at least 30minutes a day,” Campbell said.
According to Campbell, this year has been hectic for most, and many people will be looking forward to unwinding. “The aim should therefore be for these families and friends to make a pact to not only eat and drink together but work out together as well. You can commit to 30 minutes per day of walking early in the mornings before your festivities begin each day,” she said.
If you want to stay fit during the holiday season, especially during Christmas and New Year’s Eve, here are some useful tips that might help you:
• EAT BEFORE HEADING OUT
First, it is best that you eat something before heading out to visits, trips or family dinners. By doing so, you will no longer be tempted to eat a lot or overindulge yourself since you have already eaten. Skipping on meals is not a good idea either, because you will only be forced to eat more later.
• SELECT THE TREATS
Make sure to select the treats that you eat in a wise manner. You should choose something that you can only enjoy during the holiday season and not something that is readily available all the time.
• AVOID SKIPPING MEALS
Do not skip meals, especially breakfast! Even though it can be tempting to skip on certain meals, believing that it will make up for the treats you consumed in the previous day, do not do it because it will only lead to counterproductive results.
• DRINK WITH MODERATION
It is best to regulate your drinking since alcohol, coke or other juices will only add more calories to the ones you’ve already eaten!
• BE ACTIVE
You should still perform your fitness routine whenever possible, and if you cannot do that, simply walk more, park your car some distance away from the store or just use the stairs.
• GET OUT OF THE HOUSE
Make the holidays a family affair and plan outdoor activities where everyone is involved.