When it’s grey and gloomy outside and the days are short, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get up and do exercise. In the lead up to Christmas, we are also more likely to eat more of the less healthy options! Between mulled wine, mince pies and lack of exposure to sunlight, it’s easy to gain weight and feel sluggish. Here’s some top tips for staying active over the holiday season from Claire Treen, VavistaLife Physio at www.vavistalife.com
1. Brave the weather
It’s easy to be put off, but going outside is all in the preparation and attitude. Wrap up warmly, wear decent footwear and once you are out there, you might even enjoy it! Cold conditions give a boost to the conversion of white fat cells to brown, which burn energy to keep us warm. Outdoor exercise increases exposure to daylight and Vitamin D, helping to increase endorphins and improving both your mood and bone strength.
2. Exercise indoors
If the weather really is appalling, try an exercise DVD or repeatedly going up and down the stairs.
Gyms often have tempting trials or short term deals, and many council gyms are now high spec and reasonably priced. The price of exercising indoors is an investment in your long term health that’s worth paying.
3. Ditch the excuses
Modern life is busy, with work and family often taking priority. It’s easy to think you have too many other things on and that it is selfish to take time out. However, studies show we are more efficient at work if we make time for exercise, whilst the ‘head space’ helps with thinking and prioritising. Exercise makes you healthier and happier, improves concentration and increases energy levels.
4. Exercise with others
It can be hard to get going on your own. Going for a walk with a partner, friend or family makes it more pleasant, and meeting up with someone helps make sure you stay committed. It’s a great way to make new acquaintances and catch up with old ones at this social time of year.
5. Set goals and monitor yourself
You are more likely to be successful in maintaining weight or losing a few pounds if you know what your goals are and you record what you do. You can do this manually, or use technology to help. Activity can be monitored by a wearable device to record how many steps you take, how much ground you cover and even how much sleep you have. Most health bodies recommend 10 000 steps a day. You might be surprised by how little or how much you do, and how much small things like using the stairs, a 10 minute walk at lunchtime or walking kids to school can make. You can also use apps to map your activity and distance covered in a walk or run. Looking at your progress can be really motivating.
- Choose to do an activity that is realistic and that you enjoy. That way you can keep it up!
- Wear appropriate clothing and stay well hydrated
- Don’t exercise if you feel unwell or have a cold
Don’t be too hard on yourself – it is party season! If you have a little too much to eat and drink, have less the next day and work it off.