Training through the Holidays

As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of festivities, social engagements, and indulging in a delicious treat…or two. While these celebrations are part of what makes the holidays so special, it's important to remember that physical activity can still play an essential role in maintaining your overall health & well-being during the holidays.

Our motivation to exercise shouldn’t just be driven by burning calories or achieving a certain physique; it's about nurturing your physical and mental health and helping you improve your sports performance. It goes beyond the gym or the treadmill. It's about incorporating movement into your everyday life whenever possible.

Regular physical activity provides a wealth of benefits that extend far beyond weight management. Here are just a few of the ways exercise can enhance your performance and health:

  • Enhanced Cardiovascular Health: Exercise strengthens your heart muscles and improves blood circulation, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • Stronger Bones and Muscles: Physical activity builds muscle mass, which helps maintain bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Improved Mental Well-being: Exercise releases endorphins and other neurotransmitters like dopamine, the body's natural mood boosters, which help combat stress, anxiety, and depression; as well as drive your willpower and motivation.
  • Enhanced Sleep Quality: Physical activity promotes better sleep patterns, helping you to fall and stay asleep at night whilst contributing to increased energy levels and improved alertness during the day.

Location, Location, Location

The unpredictable weather in the UK can sometimes make outdoor activities challenging during the festive season. However, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor options to keep you active and engaged whatever the weather.

Indoor Activities:

  • Gym Sessions: Hit the gym for a variety of strength training and cardio exercises or opt for group fitness classes to add an element of social interaction.
  • Yoga or Pilates: These mind-body practices promote flexibility, balance, and stress reduction, making them ideal for a relaxing yet energising workout.
  • Home Workouts: Utilise online fitness resources or fitness apps to create customised workouts that fit your preferences and schedule.

Outdoor Activities:

  • Hiking or Walking: Explore local trails or parks for a scenic and invigorating workout.
  • Ice Skating: Enjoy the festive atmosphere and get your heart rate up with a session of ice skating.
  • Cycling: Explore the city streets or countryside on your bike for a fun and eco-friendly way to stay active. And if you have the right equipment at home, there are also a range of ways that you can enjoy cycling from within the comfort of your own home.

Easier Said Than Done

It’s all well and good having lots of options, but at the same time, getting caught up in the festivities is bound to impact on your training plans at least once… we’re all human after all. So, to help minimise lost of modified training days, here is a few tips that you can follow to keep you on track…

  • Set Realistic Goals: Start with achievable goals that are appropriate for the time you have available and your current fitness level.
  • Find Activities You Enjoy: Choose activities that you find fun and engaging, making it more likely that you will keep going through the holidays.
  • Make Exercise a Social Affair: Incorporate exercise into social gatherings with friends or family.

Exercise should be fun and should add to our day, so by following the tips above you can effectively take away any unnecessary pressure and anxiety and focus on movement that is fun and easy to incorporate into your busy holiday season.

Rest and Digest

The holiday season is also a great time to sit back, relax and take stock of the year. But during that time, we may also have a few extra moments here and there in-between exercise and the festivities to focus on recovery.

Rest and recovery are essential for physical and mental performance. Don't push yourself too hard without adequate rest.

  • Prioritise Sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night to allow your body and mind to repair and recharge.
  • Incorporate Stretching and Foam Rolling: Stretching and foam rolling may help improve flexibility, reduce muscle soreness from training, and promote better recovery.
  • Striving for Balance: Prioritise a healthy balanced diet (and yes, that does allow for festive treats) that contains plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and fats to fuel for the demands of exercise and recovery.

The Importance of Taking Breaks

If we hadn’t already convinced you as to why taking a break every now and then is a good thing, I’m sure the following might just help you get across that line…

  • Listen to Your Body: Overtraining can lead to burnout, fatigue, and increased risk of injury. Take breaks from training when needed to prevent these issues.
  • Schedule Recovery Days: Include rest days or low-impact activities in your fitness routine to allow your body to recover and rebuild.

The festive season is a time for joy, celebration, and togetherness. While indulging in holiday treats is a part of the festivities, it's crucial to also prioritise your physical and mental well-being. By incorporating exercise into your holiday routine, you'll reap the benefits of improved physical fitness, enhanced mental well-being, and a healthier lifestyle. Plus, some Christmas themed activities thrown in there can’t hurt, right!

Remember, balance is key – indulge in holiday treats, but don't neglect your fitness goals. Find a balance that works for you and enjoy the holidays to the fullest, both physically and mentally!

Happy Holidays!