Health & Fitness

Festive fitness: Don’t become a Christmas couch potato

Christmas can be tricky even for those of us who frequently lead healthy, active lifestyles, holiday closures, a truckload of chocolates, canapés, and other unhealthy snacks appear in the shops to tempt us, not to mention the calorie laden glasses of champagne, endless bottles of beer and even unlimited table wine. It’s also cold, dark and with family and friends always popping in and out it’s difficult to set aside the time to even go for a quick run. However, apart from buying home exercise equipmenthere’s what you can do to get through the holidays without sacrificing healthy habits.

FLICKR IMAGE CREDIT: Maciej Kraus

BE AN EARLY RISER

Having a regular sleeping pattern is vital to our health, but also those that get up earlier are often more, awake, alert and productive throughout the day than people that leave their bedroom later. Not only do you get more done undisturbed, things like filing, quiet housework and organizing cupboards. Plus, if you do wake up at the crack of dawn you’ll be able to go for a run without anyone realizing you’re gone. According to a recent US nursing study, the longer you can achieve REM sleep, the lower your Body Mass Index will be. By getting out into the crisp, morning sunshine, you’ll be receiving plenty of vitamin D, as well as having the sidewalk, track or road to yourself.

TURN UP THE MUSIC

Funnily enough, scientists say that the tunes we choose to listen to while exercising can have an impact on our performance levels. For example, if while running, your heartbeat is around 120 beats per minute, you can reach a faster pace by listening to a track whose baseline runs at 125 beats per minute. An Up-tempo track will make you feel stronger, quicker and get the adrenaline going faster than slower songs; this is why so many gym, running and training playlists are available online. To add some festive fun why not choose Christmas carols, songs or jingles that match your current level of exercise? No matter what you decide to listen to, as long as the music you’ve chosen is around five beats above your heart rate then studies show you’ll perform better than you would otherwise.

USE YOUR ENVIRONMENT

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We accomplish many daily tasks without thinking about it before we begin our workouts but what if you could add them in, almost unnoticed, to your routine. For starters, you could perform squats while brushing your teeth, stretches while getting ready and use the stairs as an inclined treadmill. While outside speed walk to wherever you’re going, run for an occasional bus and even jump up and down a few times while waiting for the lights to change.

PICTURE THIS

The invention of Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram means that we’re all taking more photos than ever before, but what if you could harness social media to help keep you healthy? By posting, or simply taking pictures of what you eat you are less likely to snack, give you an instant breakdown on what your diet is actually like and highlight any areas that could be improved. Plus, those who do post their food pictures online often end up with different ideas for recipes, chatting with people who lead similar lifestyles and, if you’re looking to lose weight, evidence can keep you from overindulging because you’re more likely to remember.

GRAB SOME GARLIC

Taking fresh, or capsule, garlic has been known to beat bloating because it contains a chemical called allicin that works with your body to combat unwanted bacteria, unpleasant acids and bubbling yeasts in the stomach. Studies show those who ingest a daily garlic capsule have significantly flatter tummies than people who don’t.

EAT PURPLE VEG

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It might sound a little strange but purple veg are some of the healthiest, and many celebrities will eat nothing but violet shaded foods before an important event. Luckily, you don’t have to be an A-lister to get your hands on these goods as many supermarkets now stock purple cabbage, potatoes, asparagus and even sprouts. These plum colored products are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants while tasting great! Incidentally, the purple hue comes from anthocyanins pigments found naturally in certain plants and are often used by restaurants to create a unique looking dish

TRY A MEAL PLAN MENU

Leading a healthy lifestyle all the time isn’t always possible, and you can sometimes run out of ideas on what to cook or drink which leaves you feeling demotivated. Some people choose to combat this by using a meal plan guide, or fitness manual often written by health gurus, fitness experts, and good lifestyle practitioners. These days, it’s also common to see books written by online personalities, celebrities, and personal trainers. There are lots of guides, meal plan menus and fitness books out there including Kayla Itsines,  a personal trainer and prominent YouTuber so for more info look at this link for a kayla itsines review in detail.  

SKATE YOUR SOCKS OFF

Not only is ice skating a great form of cardio, exercising your lower core, strengthening your muscles and so forth but it’s also great fun at the same time. Why not invite friends or family to go with you? That way not only is everyone exercising and getting plenty of fresh air they’re also having loads of fun. You can also combine skating with another fitness tip, wear compression socks, like marathon runners, do and as they support your calf muscles they could help you to skate faster, stronger and longer than before.

AVOID CHRISTMASSY CLASSES

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At this time of year, your local gym or activity center might be offering a range of festive/New Year themed classes aimed at getting users in shape. While these sessions such as, stiletto fitness, dancing queen and even booty beautiful may work in the short term they’re often quite gimmicky. Experts say that it’s best to stick to a class that is available all year round and one that has proven, reliable results like Yoga, Pilates, Zumba or even martial arts sessions like Capoeira which can be perfect for all over fitness as well as building confidence.

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