Easy ex­er­cise ideas for your hol­i­days

Good - - CONTENTS - with Rachel Grun­well Rachel is a mum, marathoner, writer and yoga teacher.


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.

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