The weeks leading up to the festive period can be a tortuous, albeit fun, time for people who want to maintain a semblance of a fitness routine over Christmas.
Temptation all around
In the weeks leading up to Christmas you are likely to be invited to any number of drinks parties. The office is awash with chocolates, mince pies and other festive snacks. There is little chance of escaping the festive temptations.
Which leads to the question of how you can keep your fitness routine over Christmas at least a little bit on track?
Work social occasions, school nativity plays, carol concerts and any number of other commitments. The time you can allow yourself to exercise gets severely reduced. You don’t want to be the party pooper who turns down invites so you can keep up with your fitness routine over Christmas but you also know how horrible you will feel if you let everything go to pot.
Olympic advice on keeping a fitness routine over Christmas
Jo Pavey, five-time Olympian and mother of two, says that she combines family time with exercise. She and her husband will take her family to a forest or park. She then leaves them having a picnic or a game of hide and seek while she goes for a run. The key, she says, to keeping your fitness routine over Christmas on track is to work harder for a shorter time. In this way, you will disrupt the festivities less but get the same amount of good.
For example: Do a tempo run, where you run at an uncomfortably hard pace for 20 minutes. This will really give your fitness a boost as you are challenging your body in a different way.
Another tip, from fitness website lifehack.org, is to win some extra time in the day by getting up an hour earlier and doing a workout then. That might sound horrible but once you get used to setting the alarm clock just a bit earlier, you will soon start to appreciate the early morning. This is your time and gives you the chance you get to do something for yourself – in this case a run or a weights session.
Run to keep your fitness routine over Christmas on track
Entering a festive event is a great way to keep your fitness routine over Christmas. It also gives you an extra target to work towards. Across the country there are any number of Santa Runs, Boxing Day races or New Year’s Eve events. You could even do a Christmas morning open water swim! The feeling of turning up to a party knowing that you have just given your all in a five kilometre race or a 40 kilometre bike ride is liberating. The mince pies and mulled wine will taste so much better.
If you are away over the festive period, so not able to go to your regular gym, try a home workout. Be creative with the furniture or garden space and build a 10-12 station circuit. This will give you a chance to try some new exercises and work muscles that might get overlooked with your regular routine. Variety in your workout is a great way to raise your fitness levels. It is also a great motivator and can rejuvenate your approach to fitness.
And, as most fitness instructors would advise, it is actually not the worst thing in the world if you do give yourself and your body a break.