How to keep fit at Christmas? It is a time of year when the temptations to eat, drink and party far outweighs the health benefits of exercise and diet. So yes, it is a challenge to keep fit at Christmas but, then, who said keeping fit and healthy was easy?
Here, we offer a few tips and pieces of advice gleaned from personal trainers and health and fitness bloggers. These range from incorporating a daily workout into your Christmas schedule to playing frisbee in the park with the ‘rellies’
Less is more
Alice Liveing is a personal trainer and author of several best-selling books on exercise and nutrition. Her advice to keep fit at Christmas is to make sure you exercise three times a week over the festive period. She suggests two weights sessions and one conditioning session are a realistic goal and will keep you in shape so you can make an easy return to a full-on fitness regime once the party season is over. The beauty of these sessions as well, is that you don’t have to brave the elements but can stay in the warmth of the gym.
A blast of fresh air
If it is a blast of fresh air that you are after – possibly to blow away the office party-induced cobwebs – then you might prefer the advice of Olivia Ross-Hurst, who is captain of the Adidas Runners group. Her solution to a treat-filled Christmas is to go for a long run but make the end point a sociable hot chocolate or coffee with friends. Alice also advocates the power of running with others. “Find a friend who loves to run. Not only will this keep you accountable and ensure you show up, but its safer to run in pairs, particularly on dark winter evenings.
Little and often
Celeste Pereira, quoted in Elle magazine, suggests little and often is the way to go. “Set aside at least 15 minutes of training everyday – walking, yoga, HIIT, anything. Even a few minutes will get your metabolism pumping.” The yoga guru also suggest setting a challenge to help you and your friends keep fit at Christmas. “Challenge friends and family to a ‘plank-off’ (holding the plank position for as long as possible).
Setting goals is the advice of fitness website fitday.com. Holiday-themed races such as a Santa Run, a Turkey trot or a Christmas dash are really popular and a great way to burn off some calories and get a breath of fresh air. Ranging from 5k to half marathons, there are holiday-themed races held all over the UK so, if you are visiting relatives in another part of the country, this may be a chance to explore a new area at the same time.
Keep fit at Christmas with the family
If you see the festive season as a time to take a break from the gym, there are still numerous ways that you can burn a few calories and keep fit over Christmas. This is a great time to get the whole family or a group of friends out for a long walk. Either set off in the morning, with the promise of a lovely lunch when you return or go for a hike after you have eaten – either way, the food will taste better if you feel you have/will earn it.
If you are a keen cyclist, Christmas is often a great time to get a few miles in. Less traffic on the roads means a less stressful cycle and, again, you can make sure the end result is a catch-up with friends and a well-deserved coffee and cake.
You can also tap into the inner child and get your group out for a game in the park. Football, rugby, frisbee or simply ‘tag’ are all games that will get everyone moving, running and having fun.
And while this article is all about how to keep fit at Christmas, that last point is very important, the holidays are a time when you should give yourself a bit of a break and have some fun.