Have you found that you lose the motivation to exercise during the holidays? When your routine changes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and other holidays, does your exercise routine fall by the wayside?
Many people find they lose their regular exercise routine during holiday and celebration periods. It happens to the best of us!
Whether you are at home with visitors or staying with family, it’s hard to maintain your exercise routine and stay active during the holidays.
Surely, it’s OK to take a break? Life’s about more than exercise, isn’t it?
Well, yes, of course, life is about more than exercise!
Life is about doing the things we love, seeing the people we care about, travelling, doing work or volunteering, or other meaningful activities.
And to do all these things, we need to be fit, flexible, mobile and have good balance.
So, life shouldn’t be all exercising at all. But squeezing a little bit of exercise into our day does enable us to live and enjoy our busy, active lives.
It’s vital to remember this during the holidays when we’re busy and distracted.
I’m a specialist exercise instructor (based in London, England). I’ve spent the last 16 years helping women feel stronger, have better balance, and move more easily. I’ve helped them find ways to stay committed to their exercise programmes despite all their challenges and commitments. And I’d love to help you too!
The first step to staying active in the holidays is understanding why it matters so much. In this article, I will share the three reasons we must keep moving during these special times of the year.
When you exercise regularly, you build on the gains you made in the previous session. So, your muscles get a little stronger each time, your capacity for endurance increases a little each time.
The fitness gains we make are incremental, as long as we keep up the exercise. We don’t notice them every time we work out, but these small gains become significant over time.
If you wait too long between sessions, you’re always working to catch up to where you were. It makes it much harder to build on your fitness and make meaningful improvements.
Have you heard the saying, “you can’t do today’s workout tomorrow”?
I think this is an excellent way of looking at things. If you wait till tomorrow, the day after or even next week, you’re starting from a lower baseline, and it will take you longer to make the same improvements.
I like to be as positive as I can. I’m not fond of doom-mongering or frightening people into exercise.
I want people to stay active because they enjoy the results. I want people to exercise because it enables them to keep doing all the things they love and care about – like gardening, travelling and looking after grandchildren.
However, there are times when we need to be realistic. The fact is that doing nothing – after a certain age – doesn’t mean you stay where you are (in fitness terms).
Often people assume that if they don’t exercise, they won’t improve. They understand that they will miss out on getting stronger, fitter etc. That’s not the whole picture, though.
The fact is, from our mid-30s, we start to decline naturally. We lose a little bit of muscle mass, muscle strength, cardiovascular fitness and bone density every year. The only way to slow down or arrest this decline is to challenge our bodies with the right exercises, done at the right level.
It’s important to realise that it’s hard work to just maintain our balance, strength or flexibility.
So, even getting in a small workout is hugely beneficial to ensure we maintain and improve our fitness.
Often when people talk about the benefits of exercise, they all seem relatively distant (e.g., reducing your risk of heart disease). It’s all a bit long term and somehow not always motivating enough, especially when we have so many other things going on.
However, the benefits of exercise start as soon as we finish each session. We feel it in the short, medium and long term.
I know that when I exercise, I feel better right away. I hear from many members of my studio who also notice the difference immediately.
After an exercise session, we feel better physically. We might have fewer aches and pains, perhaps less discomfort in our joints. We usually find we can move more easily, have more energy, and get up and go.
We also notice the difference in our mental and emotional states. We feel less stressed or anxious. We feel better in ourselves and find it easier to deal with the challenges of the day.
This emotional wellbeing can be even more important over the holidays. What is, of course, a special time with family and friends can be busy. It’s lots of work having visitors, and staying at other people’s houses can be stressful. You might be preparing large meals and need lots of energy for all the family get-togethers. You may not sleep as well as usual, or you may end up over-indulging a little with the festive treats.
So, if there’s something quick you can do each morning to help you feel more balanced through the day, you should make the time for it!
Yes, we do exercise to be fitter and healthier in the long term. But we also exercise to feel and perform better immediately, today, and that’s another reason why it’s so important to keep our routine up during the holidays.
Here are a few exercises you can do right now at home:
You can find more videos like this in the Vida Wellness Studio. It’s an online exercise studio – a membership site for people who want to improve their balance and posture, feel stronger and move more easily. You can get a 14-day free trial of the Vida Wellness Studio, where you can ask lots of questions and see if it’s right for you.
Are you worried about keeping active over the holidays? How easy have you found it to stick to your exercise routine in the past? Join the conversation below!