Easy exercise ideas for your holidays
he habit of physical activity can be tough to maintain over the holiday season. Your everyday routines are upended, and it’s common for gyms and sports clubs to shut down, which means you can’t attend your usual workout sessions. This can be frustrating if you’re feeling fit and fabulous pre-Xmas, but by mid-January you’re carrying extra kilos and feeling meh instead of revitalised, despite your best intentions.
Taking a fresh approach is the way to combat this. Enjoy your break, forget your exercise routine and weave incidental exercise into your days instead… or do your own fitness workouts. The key is to keep moving your body. Movement keeps us strong, sparks brain activity, and helps with our mood and energy levels. Physical activity helps us ward off issues such as obesity, diabetes, depression and hypertension.
Mark Manson, author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good
Life, recommends abandoning the all-or-nothing approach. Instead just do something, such as putting on your shoes and doing 2000 steps a day. He recommends starting with 2000 steps, then increase to 4000 and build from there.
“If you break things down into little steps and then just make the first step… it can generate the momentum to keep going,” says Manson.
Structure your environment towards your goal. For example, lay out your exercise clothes the night before so they are the first thing you wake up to.
“There will be days where you are tired and don’t feel like it and you will not have that willpower. So your environment should be set up in a way that you don’t have to use that willpower,” he says.
Take the first step, rather than constantly seeking inspiration on social media (it can actually be a distraction). He also recommends spending time with others who inspire you on a fitness journey, and declaring your fitness goals to friends to keep you accountable. Visualise yourself as a fitter person.
“It’s not enough to simply go to the gym constantly. You have to identify yourself as a healthy person, a physically fit person. It needs to become a part of your self-perception. A lot of people resist that and focus on the behaviour, and they can’t change how they see themselves. But ultimately, to reach a point where something is self-sustaining and lasting… you have to change how you see yourself, your identity so to speak,” says Manson.
Top 10 ways to get active over the holidays:
1 Walk whenever this is possible. I inspire (bribe) my kids to walk to the local park or to visit friends. 2 Use scooters or bikes for a dose of that fun factor. 3 Use TV-watching time to do household chores, such as folding washing, or stretch at the same time.
4 Stand instead of sitting if on the phone or reading. It burns more calories and helps to keep your muscles working. Stand while you’re doing hobbies such as painting or mindful drawing, watching kids play at the beach, or waiting for a taxi or bus.
5 Use the stairs instead of a lift or escalator.
6 Walk a dog – yours or a friend’s pet.
7 Sign up for a fun community event, such as Cigna Round the Bays in Wellington on February 18. (I’ll be there!) This keeps you motivated to turn up to fitness sessions.
8 Seek out nature instead of being on technology; think beaches, bush walks, lake swims, or walk to a park.
9 Do body-weight strength exercises at home or at a park, find out about high-intensity workouts, or simply do things like lunges, push-ups, squats, knee-lifts, and stretches. 10 Put on music and dance. My six-year-old son loves this! You don’t even have to be good at dancing. It’s a good way to exercise, boosts brainpower and is a brilliant way to interact with others.