Mince pies, mulled wine and Christmas dinner – ‘tis truly the season for indulgence.
While the run-up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve is the perfect excuse to treat yourself, it doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon your fitness routine. Although hitting the gym doesn’t have to be a priority, if you keep up exercising you’ll feel the benefits in the long-term – and you’ll be able to enjoy the extra food and drink feeling completely guilt-free!
- Set realistic goals
This is the number one thing to bear in mind when it comes to your fitness regime over Christmas. Everyone deserves a rest and Christmas is a great time to take some well-earned downtime. Keep sight of your fitness goals but don’t be too hard on yourself – set yourself realistic goals with plenty of time for rest and enjoying the company of family and friends. Instead of pledging to hit the gym every single day, try and set objectives you know you can meet, such as 30 minutes of exercise a day, or days off from indulging – this way you will avoid disappointment and stay motivated all the way into the New Year.
- Optimise your workout
If you’re still keen to exercise over the festive period but don’t have much time, high intensity interval training (HITT) is an intense and effective way of working out. Sessions usually last around 20 minutes, so perfect for squeezing in between Christmas films. If you prefer strength-training, try increasing your weights – this will induce muscle fatigue faster, shortening your workout time.
- Exercise in the morning
If you’re struggling to find the time to work out, try scheduling it first thing in the morning. This way it’s out of your mind for the rest of the day, and you can enjoy that extra slice of Christmas cake knowing you’ve smashed a session. What’s more, after a strenuous workout, your metabolism doesn’t return to normal immediately, as aerobic activity causes excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). Known as the afterburn effect, this process is said to rev up your metabolism and torch calories for up to 24 hours after exercise. A study found that after HIIT training, some people burned almost 200 extra calories in the 14 hours after their workout ended.
- Clean your house
Get your daily exercise by cleaning the house; if you really put your back into it, you could burn just as many calories as going to the gym. Bending, squatting, running up and down stairs, standing while folding and putting away laundry all burn calories and tone muscles. You’ll also end up with a clean house to impress your guests with! Get out of the house If the idea of getting to the gym in scheduling time to go for a run has you in a panic, then focus on getting 10,000 steps a day, which is the recommended daily step target for healthy adults. This equates to around 5 miles and the goal encourages the accumulation of incidental and planned activity across the whole day. When the indoor indulgences become too much, head into the great outdoors for some fresh air. Even a brisk walk around the block, or walking whilst talking to a loved one on the phone will contribute to your daily total.
- Drink lots of water
Drinking water during any workout is also important, but is even more important during the festive as we typically consume more salty food and alcohol which has a dehydrating effect on the body. Don’t deny yourself the glass of bubbly – or the deluxe hot chocolate – but do remember to keep up your water intake. Drinking plenty of water boosts your metabolism, helping you to digest the festive treats faster and more efficiently.
- Get enough sleep
If you’re running around and having too many late nights, your body won’t be able to keep up. Make sure to give yourself at least eight hours of sleep a day, for both your mental and physical wellbeing.
Hope these tips help you have a joyful festive season!