The festive season is usually the hardest time of the year to try and maintain any semblance of fitness. To begin with, all the food alone encourages you to spoil yourself with decadence. This is where all the work you have put in through the year comes under siege from your aunt’s homemade pies and your mom’s turkey, gravy and plum pudding. If you are not careful, your waistline is bound to jump up a belt hoop or two. This is also the period when it is hardest to find the time to work out as well. If you are not out catching up with your people, you are travelling on holiday; who wants to keep working out when there is sun and sand to be enjoyed?
All is not lost however, there are several ways you and your family can keep fit throughout the holiday period, regardless of where you are. These are actually very simple things you can incorporate into your life without changing much, or diluting your holiday experience. Here are some of those things that will help you keep your fitness gains during this season of over-indulgence;
Movement is your friend
One of the deadliest enemies to your progress is the progress to stay off your feet. If you are at home for the holidays, you are likely to be restricted to minimal movement by people who have not seen you in a while. They want to catch up and find out what you have been doing all year, or catch a drink with you and just relax. It is even worse if you are on holiday somewhere. Between being waited on hand and foot, the decadent foods, the massages, and soaking up the sun, and someone trying to see how fast they can shotgun a beer, there is hardly any time to get any exercise in.
To beat this, you have to keep moving. According to most sports scientists, something as simple as moving in between meals, or just pacing around the house being your helpful self is enough. If you are at home, start volunteering for the jobs people are avoiding such as running errands outside, splitting wood, or even cutting up ingredients in the kitchen. If there are children involved, give them errands that require movement as well. You can even take walks as a family. If you are on holiday, schedule bodyweight exercises as soon as you wake up. A few push ups, squats, and core exercises should help you stay fit.
Maintain proper schedules
This little bit of planning is actually quite essential to maintaining your fitness for you and your family. It includes creating proper sleep schedules, especially for the children. One of the first things to suffer during the holidays is sleep patterns. This is because of all the excitement and the whirlwind of activity that ensues. If you are with extended family for instance, different people with different sleep cycles are congregated at one place, and it could make it harder to observe your sleep times.
Making sure you stick as close as possible to your normal sleeping times will keep your body energised throughout the festive season. You also have an easier time integrating back into your regular routine once the season ends. Having an irregular sleep cycle affects your energy levels, which in turn affects your ability to exercise. It also affects your body’s ability to properly absorb and digest foods, and could result in the improper eating habits you are trying to avoid.
Not everyone will respect your diet
Your diet is yours and yours alone. This means that while you will most likely be counting how many calories are in the mashed potatoes, everyone else will most likely be lathering them with gravy and chasing it down with a beer. To avoid a distortion of your family’s healthy eating habits, learn to prepare healthy snacks for in between meals. Salads, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and energy bars for instance will help you keep away the urge to indulge in binging. They will also ensure that you and your family maintain healthy eating habits during this period. Remember, eating healthy does not equal dieting. It means that whatever you put in your body is done in moderation and has been vetted and found productive.
Another thing you should add to your to do list is a plan for workouts. This goes hand in hand with eating healthy. Add a small period of time to your schedule for bodyweight exercises to help you stay in shape. This is best done straight after you wake up, and can even include your significant other. Squats, crunches, lunges, push-ups and dips are your friend when it comes to this. You can also schedule family evening walks around the neighbourhood, or even at some point during the day as a hike if you are on vacation. If you are in Sydney, you can schedule and early morning session at a boxing club for training before the family wakes up.