Bored with the same old Christmas and Boxing Day inertia? Break free with our guide to the best active ways to celebrate the festive season, from races and classes to mountain hikes and cold-water dips. Keep moving and motivated between those mince pies…
Joyous as the festive season is, Christmas and New Year can have negative consequences for our health and wellbeing. An excess of food, drink and late nights, coupled with the stress of present buying and rush to finish work, is all too often followed by inertia – hours spent supine on the sofa, watching TV. Being cooped up with family for days on end can lead to cabin fever and, before long, you’re almost wishing it were time to go back to work.
It’s so easy to give up any notion of exercise come the festive season, as Christmas parties, shopping and TV tempt you away from your regular training schedule. According to The British Heart Foundation, a third of British adults will do absolutely no exercise throughout the whole of December, while a further 33 per cent will do less than one hour a week. What are we doing instead? A lot of sitting down – during the festive month, Brits will each spend over 188 hours eating, watching TV or driving. The result of this inactivity is scary – British adults will collectively gain over 19.5 million stone by New Year – that’s 9,874 double-decker buses!
So this year, play things differently by keeping your activity levels up throughout December. You’ll not only feel less bloated come January, but also enjoy the end of the year even more. ‘The festive period is a wonderful time, but it can be miserable if we don’t manage it properly,’ warns personal trainer Harry Jameson, harryjameson. co.uk. ‘The key is balancing your hormones. When it’s dark and cold, we tend to consume more alcohol and sugar than normal. This can lead to a downturn in mood; weight gain; disturbed sleep; and feelings of lethargy. Engaging in exercise can be massively useful in helping combat these negative effects by releasing endorphins. The extra calorie burn is a damage-limiting factor in terms of weight gain, but the true value is psychological, making this happy period even better.’ Here’s our pick of the best ways to have a fitter festive season.
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