It’s difficult enough for most of us to exercise regularly throughout the year but add the holidays into the mix and exercise becomes even less of a priority. You’d think that with the holidays being at the same time every year you’d be better prepared this time around. But we all seem to be taken by surprise when the season rolls in, and we end up making excuses not to exercise.
Research demonstrates that when your regular exercise routine comes to a stop, de-training can occur within just a couple of weeks. Whilst rest days and short breaks are crucial for recharging your mind and body, taking extended breaks can reverse and undo the gains you have worked for all year long. Stopping your exercise and activities altogether can also make it more difficult to restart your regular exercise regime after the holidays.
Why you need to stay active even during the holidays
Exercising whilst on holiday is a valuable tool that often gets relegated to the sidelines. But before you give in to the temptation to slack off, eat, drink, and just be merry, remember this: Exercise can help maintain muscle mass which in turn assists in sustaining your metabolic rate. Don’t lose all the gains you have worked so hard for throughout the year in just one season!
Exercise can beat the holiday blues
Statistics on holiday stress claim that up to 69% of people experience stress due to time pressure during the holiday season, 51% feel anxious about being pressured to buy or receive gifts, and 69% worry about finances. What is supposed to be time for celebration and merrymaking has turned into a season for stress and anxiety.
Between preparing for last-minute gift shopping, finances, preparing for visitors, catering to family and friends, and wrapping up the work year, exercise can help promote the release of hormones that can improve your mood and reduce the symptoms of anxiety.
‘Tis the season to be jolly
A study suggests that Australians gain an average of 0.8 to 1.5kg over the Christmas holiday. Another study shows that Australian adults appear to have two key annual periods for weight gain – the period between Christmas and New Year, and winter.
It’s fairly easy to see why as the holidays are commonly associated with merry eating and feasting. Whilst it’s unrealistic to deprive yourself of treats, it’s best to practice mindful eating and portion control instead of bingeing and overeating.
With most of us increasing our caloric intake during the festive season, staying active during holidays can help you avoid unnecessary weight gain.
Don’t lose sight of the structure
We all tend to go through this period between Christmas and New Year’s Day where we get caught up in activities and don’t know what day it is. Losing structure is a well-known culprit that is associated with depression, stress, and even weight gain.
Having a regular routine can help in maintaining your circadian rhythm, provide you with a sense of progress, and lend form and shape to your day. Conversely, losing sight of structure makes it easy to stray off your healthy diet, overeat, or drink too much alcohol.
Maintaining your exercise schedule can help you stay on track with your dietary intake and sleeping patterns.
Good health can’t wait until the new year
The truth is that cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoarthritis don’t care about resolutions and the New Year! You are better off making changes in your workout routine than stopping altogether and losing what you have worked so hard for.
Instead of putting the brakes on your exercise routine, why not make small tweaks such as these:
• Reduce the time of each training session
• Cut back a day of training each week
• Do simple bodyweight exercises
Implementing small changes can help maintain the momentum of your exercise regime and reduce the effort it takes to re-establish it again later.
Activities to do during the holidays
A good advice to heed is to keep it simple. The holidays can be stressful enough as they are, and complicating matters will likely keep you from exercising. Here are simple strategies to stay active this season:
• Exercise bands, skipping ropes and exercise mats are easy ways to get a whole-body training session done whether you are a beginner or professional athlete.
• Scout out the surrounding National Parks for walking trails, mountains to climb, and waterfalls to swim in.
• Hit up the hotel gym or one close to your holiday stay.
• Schedule your workout ahead with the people you are travelling with. You can even incorporate a group workout as part of your travels.
• Check out and participate in local physical activity events
An important thing to keep in mind is to HAVE FUN! Exercising during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore or punishment when you enjoy it!
A holiday health advice
Here’s a personal tip from our Exercise Physiologist, Rachelle on how to stay fit during the holidays:
“I like to get my exercise done in the morning when on a holiday so that I can enjoy the rest of the day. I get my running shoes on, explore the local sites on foot, and get a workout at the same time. I am a big advocate of doing something different for my workout when on holiday. It keeps me motivated to challenge myself to try something new and different from my usual workout routine.”
Whether you’re not sure where or how to start or if you know you tend to slack off during the holidays, it’s best to ask for professional help. Call 1300 090 931 or click this link to get in touch with our Exercise Physiologists (EP) at Healthstin Physio in Moss Vale or any of our other Allied Health Clinic locations. Our EPs can prescribe appropriate, safe, and simple exercise routines for you to follow whilst on holiday.
Go ahead, it’s okay to celebrate during the holidays. Just don’t forget to stay active so you won’t lose the gains you worked so hard for, and at the same time, make it less of a struggle to get back to your regular exercise routine in the new year.