Here’s how to kick back and relax and keep fit over the Christmas break. Taking time off is essential, but that doesn’t mean you have to trash your fitness. The mental and physical recuperation is worth its weight in gold. Now is not the time to stress about a break from your active routine, nor is it a time to stress about dreaded weight gain. I believe I have come up with a plan for everyone to grab a good dose of Christmas spirit and keep mind and body in good shape. I have split my approach into three categories, depending on how active and sport mad you are. Give them each a read and find the one that suits you.
Exercises most, if not every day, starts to lose their mind if cooped up for a minute too long.
Remember, you don’t get fit during exercise, you get fit during rest when your body has a chance to adapt and repair. Now we’ve got that straight, we still need to scratch that exercise itch. Make a decision to adopt this festive microcycle of training. You can get back to your normal routine in January. Shake things up with this fitness challenge and know you’ll be back refreshed and stronger than ever in the new year.
Challenge yourself to 100 Press Ups, 100 Lunges, 100 Mixed Sit Ups per day for the 12 days of Xmas (start on Boxing Day). Alternatively,
do these every other day and aim for 45 minutes of mixed intensity training on the other days. For example, 5 min. easy running, 30 min unstructured fartlek (varied short hard efforts every 2-3 minutes or so) finish with 5 minutes easy.
Swap running for mountain bike, indoor bike or turbo trainer: 5-10 min warm up, 45min TT effort, 5-10 min cool down.
See below for aerobic days including 2-4 hour hiking efforts.
Regular exerciser who desires to stay in shape to avoid punishment when life returns to normal in January.
You have worked hard to get fit and have established your weekly activity schedule. Maintain the feeling of general wellness by following these tips. Make it a family affair where possible and grab a buddy or overly sugared youngster for company and motivation.
Schedule activities on all of your normal exercise days. Walk briskly for the duration of a typical workout. Indulge in some exercise snacking between meals, or a mini workout such as 10 squats on the minute, every minute for ten minutes. Change the exercise as you wish.
Schedule to meet friends and family for a Boxing Day walk / hike and a New Year’s Day walk / hike. Make these a 2-4 hour walk out in nature or somewhere with a bit of history. A pub at the half way mark is always a popular plan. Check out the National Trust for routes and guides and Ordnance Survey for similar tips and adventures.
The “I just don’t want to become a human Christmas pudding!”
Not a regular exerciser, but desperately wants to avoid weight gain over the festive period.
Avoid the guilt and festive waist-expansion by following this very friendly guide. It’s great for boosting digestion and metabolism, giving you the perfect excuse to take a break from that mad relative and get some fresh air. You’ll work up a healthy appetite and take comfort from knowing you burn more and store fewer calories when you exercise prior to munching. Take a 30 minute walk every day, ideally in the hour before your main meal. Walk at a comfortable pace that allows you to talk freely. Walk more briskly if you fancy and consider carrying a backpack with a bottle or two of water to boost your effort and metabolism.
Now, here is an exercise trick that starts very easily, gathers momentum and gets you fit before you even know it. Start the Christmas period off as you mean to go on as follows.
Boxing day: 1 press up, 1 squat, 1 sit up, 1 burpee
Dec 27th: 2 press ups, 2 squats, 2 sit ups, 2 burpees
Dec 28th: 3 press ups, 3 squats, 3 sit ups, 3 burpees
Dec 29th: 4 press ups, 4 squats, 4 sit ups, 4 burpees
Dec 30th: 5 press ups, 5 squats, 5 sit ups, 5 burpees
Dec 31st: 6 press ups, 6 squats, 6 sit ups, 6 burpees
Jan 1st: 7 press ups, 7 squats, 7 sit ups, 7 burpees
Jan 2nd: 8 press ups, 8 squats, 8 sit ups, 8 burpees
Jan 3rd: 9 press ups, 9 squats, 9 sit ups, 9 burpees
Jan 4th: 10 press ups, 10 squats, 10 sit ups, 10 burpees
Jan 5th: 11 press ups, 11 squats, 11 sit ups, 11 burpees
Jan 6th: 12 press ups, 12 squats, 12 sit ups, 12 burpees
Give these tips and tricks a crack and let me know how you get on. Take the opportunity to share your efforts and outings with friends and loved ones. This could be the start of amazing things for the year ahead.