Christmas is approaching fast, and lots of people not only tend to ruin their usual diets, but they also gain a few extra kilos. Based on studies, the majority of people tend to gain additional weight during the holiday season, especially when Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Excessive eating is claimed to be the leading cause for the additional weight gain, but it is also due to lack of physical activity and exercise during this period. A lot of individuals tend to set aside their fitness routines during the holidays since they believe that they do not have enough time to perform their workouts.
Always bear in mind that you can still enjoy the holidays and stay fit at the same time. Here are some useful tips that might help you:
Less Alcohol, More Water
Because Christmas in Australia takes place in the heat of summer, dehydration is a real danger, especially if you’ve been hitting the booze. That backyard game of cricket is great for some exercise, but when it’s over, you’re better off getting some water into you than guzzling a cold beer. Drink alcohol slowly – the human liver needs time to process alcohol and can only handle so much at a time (1).
Don’t Sacrifice Sleep
Good health requires consistent, high-quality sleep, but this can sometimes be a challenge because of the new stresses that Christmas-time brings: more intense shopping than at any other time of year, exposure to relatives you may not get along with, squabbling children with too much time on their hands, etc.
Christmas celebrations can play havoc with your sleep patterns, so try to keep on top of your sleep routine. It is essential to stay on top of your sleep patterns, so you don’t “crash and burn” from fatigue.
Make a Workout Plan
Be flexible in your approach to your exercise; if you find yourself home later than expected from yet another Christmas drinks go for a run around the block or try a circuit at home. The festive season can deplete your energy so ensure you’re resting enough so that your exercise sessions are still having an impact.
Here are simple & easy exercises to still maintain your fitness over the Christmas break: (2)
- Calf raises
Stand up straight with your feet facing forward. Rise up onto your toes, keeping your knees straight and heels off the floor.
To help you hold the position, engage your core – that means tightening your stomach muscles, imagining you’re bringing your belly button towards your spine. Count to two, then lower your heels back down. Repeat 10 times. For an extra challenge try single leg calf raises.
Place your hands on the wall/couch/floor, shoulder-width apart, legs long and feet usually together (if you need more base of support open the legs a little wider than hip length apart). Rise onto the balls of your feet then bend your elbows while leaning your body in towards the wall. Push back until your elbows are straight. Repeat 10 times.
For a challenge, add dropping to your elbows and then pushing up onto your hand in between each rep.
- Superman or Superwoman
Start on your hands and knees – knees under your hips, hands under your shoulders. Raise your right arm and left leg at the same time, keeping your hips square to the ground, your back straight and your core engaged. Switch sides.
Do 10 reps on each side. If you’re a beginner, lie down on your stomach to make this exercise easier. If you want more add a light weight to both hands and ankles.
- Chair dips
Sit on the edge of a chair, hands facing forward on either side of your body and knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
Move your hips forward, off the chair, until your arms support your weight. Slowly lower down, keeping your back close to the chair, bending your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
Push back up and repeat 15 times. If you want something harder, stay down in your dip position on reps 5, 10 and 15 for 5 counts. Feel the burn!!
Start standing with your feet hip length apart. Step forward with the right leg and bend both knee’s at 90 degrees. Then push back to standing. Complete this 15 times on each side. Remember to get down low and drive back with your front heel. You gluts should be screaming at you!
Staying healthy over the Christmas break doesn’t happen by itself – it takes planning, determination and follow-through on personal goals. Keep your exercise routine consistent but straightforward during the festive season; create a home workout that you can stick to every day.