As December rolls around, we can often find ourselves falling out of our exercise routines and giving into our guilty pleasures.
This is heavily due to the excess amount of both savory and sweet treats we are surrounded with. Other contributing factors can be the sun setting at 4pm which encourages many of us to stay in, get cozy, and enjoy a lazy evening of indulging. Not to mention the stress of holiday shopping, traffic, and finances.
We use the holiday season as a way to justify our destructive behavior. Going down this path is fun at the moment but once January begins, we are left feeling unmotivated, bloated, and struggling to get back on the grind.
Tis the season to take control of your unhealthy habits by staying fit during the holidays and implementing an easy routine to stick to.
Table of Contents
1. Winter Walks
Figuring out how to stay fit during the holidays is on everyone’s mind as soon as Christmas songs hit the radio.
Staying fit during the holidays can be as simple as taking a winter walk each morning or evening. There are no rules when it comes to daily walks and we suggest taking it at your own pace. Whether you walk for 30 minutes or an hour, it is still beneficial as it will get your body moving.
Cold weather can encourage people to avoid bracing for the great outdoors. It is your job to fight this urge, wrap up warm and head out the door before you can convince yourself otherwise. Once you are out the door and walking at a steady pace, your body will begin regulating the heat to keep you toasty.
You will only stick to something that is easy and becomes embedded in your routine. Taking a 30 minute walk every morning may not sound appealing but it means you get the annoying part of your day over. You can then spend the evening being as lazy as you want.
Morning walks are more fun when you do it with a partner. This could be your spouse, work colleague, or family member. This boosts your motivation and makes the time fly by quicker.
If you can’t find a partner, take some headphones and listen to a 30 minute podcast episode and before you know it, the walk is completed for the day.
Staying fit over Christmas can be done not only through winter walks but also Christmas shopping. Taking the stairs, walking around the shopping center, and parking further away in the car park are all fantastic ways to get your daily walk/steps in.
Walks will not only help with staying fit during the holidays but can also relieve stress, produce positive endorphins and improve your sleep.
2. Festive Treats in Moderation
The holiday season brings us all kinds of delicious treats to enjoy. Staying fit during the holidays does not mean we have to cut these festive treats out of our lives.
Instead, we welcome the process of portion control. This means you can have Christmas cookies, mince pies, and even pigs in blankets. All you have to do is cut down the portion of these foods on your plate.
This means instead of 7 pigs in blankets, try cutting this down to 2 or 3. This allows you to enjoy the flavor and festive experience without sacrificing your health.
You can put portion control into practice at family get-togethers or office parties and can even opt for sharing desserts with a friend to make it easier.
3. Sleeping Routine
When thinking about how to stay fit during the holidays, the last avenue people think to venture down is maintaining a good sleeping routine.
Lack of sleep can make us unmotivated, tired and result in an increased craving of sugary food or salty food. This means we are too sleepy to complete our morning walk or put effort into maintaining good habits throughout the day.
To achieve your goal of staying fit over Christmas, try setting a designated bedtime and waking time. This allows your mind to prepare for down time and can equate to a better night’s sleep.
The ideal amount of hours you should sleep each night is anywhere between 7 to 9 hours completely uninterrupted.
This helps both your body and mind on its journey of learning how to stay fit during the holidays. This is because good sleep means you wake up with more energy for the day with a clearer and more positive mindset.
4. Open Water Swimming
Suggesting open water swimming during the winter sounds like a sabotage plan but it is the exact opposite. Open water swimming in cold temperatures can provide numerous benefits to your body and mind.
Entering cold water can be a source of mindfulness and exposure therapy. As you can imagine, when you are in cold water, the only thing on your mind will be focusing on is the cold water. Taking away all the stressful thoughts regarding Christmas presents, holiday planning and endless to-do lists.
Cold water also enters your body into a state of stress. This is not a bad thing because the more often you engage in this activity, your body will become accustomed to the feeling and will be able to overcome it. This translates into your everyday life, meaning you can handle stressful situations at work and home better.
Cold water swimming can also improve your speed, stamina, strength and overall fitness.
Not only does the activity provide an array of benefits but it can also be a super fun way for staying fit during the holidays. Many local swimming groups organize Christmas Eve and Boxing day swims.
This means you can be surrounded by Santa hats and warm conversation, all while raking in the benefits of cold water swimming. Participating within a group will also keep you motivated to attend.
If you plan on engaging in open water swimming, ensure you have all the essentials:
- Thermal wetsuit
- Swimming cap
- Ear plugs
- Tow float
- Emergency whistle
- Swimming socks
- Swimming shoes
5. Set Realistic Goals
The end of the year is a busy time for everyone, whether we are wrapped up in family gatherings, work deadlines, or quite literally wrapped up with wrapping gifts.
Staying fit during the holidays does not mean you have to create an elaborate and strict routine. Extensive routines are hard to stick to and will leave you feeling exhausted.
During December you can assume that everyone is constantly tired, adding high fitness expectations to this will only make life harder. Instead, you should set realistic goals and expectations for yourself.
It is so easy to flake on fitness goals and commitments during the holiday season, with the excuse that you are tired and will start again in January.
Try adding easy goals to meet each day such as a 30 minute walk, taking the stairs at work, or adding a 10 minute yoga session to your morning routine.
These small goals are super achievable and will keep you fit, motivated, and positive.