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7 Practical fitness tips for the festive season

The festive season isn’t called the Silly Season for nothing. All the good habits we try to maintain for the rest of the year go out the back door for two weeks of glorious overindulgence. Why? Who knows, it’s just always been like that.

But does it have to be like that? Are there, in fact, ways to make the Silly Season the Ever-So-Slightly-Sensible Season and still make it equally good fun? After all, a little restraint here and there is hardly going to kill the holiday spirit. And it might just mean we head back to work fitting the same clothes we wore to work last year.

Staying fit over the festive season is a mindset; a day-to-day awareness of our intake and our output. If we can look back on any given day and say it’s been all intake, the outtake of that is a further loosening of the belt. So find the balance. Find the mindset to offset the intake with some active, energetic output. You’ll thank yourself for it come 2021.

Find below some tips to do exactly that.

One: Forage, don’t feast

Yes, there might be enough food in your house to feed a small country, but your main holiday task is not to eat it all singlehandedly. And we do this: we go into the festive season with an almost feverish desire to eat anything in sight; a desire strangely absent for the other 50 weeks of the year. Why is that? What happens to ‘elegant sufficiency’ when we hit the silly season?

We seem to go into it with some temporary License in Overindulgence not available for the rest of the year. Well, for the good of our health, it’s time to revoke that license and dine like its August. Simple! You didn’t need 10 slices of ham then; you don’t now. Eat like you’ve eaten all year and next year won’t begin with an enforced diet.

Two: Topple the tipples

The holidays are the hardest time to say “When.” It’s easy to think “When I go back to work,” is the time to rein in the Christmas cheer. There is also that subconscious “No work tomorrow,” notion leading us onto the next impromptu celebration and the next.

Some hangovers go away, but the one drooping over our belt is the one we carry into 2020. Alcohol, any alcohol, is fattening and so is the rubbish we eat when our judgement isn’t at its best. Moderate the booze and the food bingeing will follow suit.

Three: Drink a lot

Confused? Well, wait. What’s clear, tastes like nothing in particular, yet is your Silly Season lifeline? The answer: it’s water and lots of it. Water rehydrates everything alcohol dehydrates. Water, for all its insipid nothingness, is filling; it suppresses appetite, so drink a few glasses before every festive feast and be surprised how little you eat. Another helpful tip: water served ice cold actually burns calories while you do nothing. How useful might that be while you’re lolling on the couch after a big day?

Four: Do something

You get two, maybe three weeks a year to do nothing. So do just that; you’ve earned it. But also do something; and by something, we mean exercise. If you’re in a holiday area, throw on some walking shoes and explore. Grab anything you can throw/kick/hit and do just that in the yard/park/beach. Play tennis. Play chasey with the kids. Anything that gets you bouncing burns off Christmas calories.

Five: Create an improvised gym

If you’re away from home, create a workout circuit in the holiday home backyard or at the beach. Alternate running with fat-burning, muscle-building exercises such as push-ups, squats, star jumps, crunches, lunges and burpees.

Six: Eat only one big meal per day

Don’t let the festivities creep into breakfast, lunch and dinner. Have one big meal and snack rather than pack for the other two.

Seven: Ask Santa for a gym membership

The holidays can be a great time to start what you’ve put off all year; after all, you’re on holiday with time on your hands. So start that promised training program and reap the rewards.