A self-repair guide for common holiday setbacks
Whether you’re panic shopping, bloated from too much partying, trying to maintain your holiday stamina, or struggling to get off the couch, the common cure is, always, exercise.
Gareth Nock, national team training specialist with GoodLife Fitness says just a bit of time spent moving can boost energy, improve your self-confidence and help alleviate stress when you most need it. Here are some self-repair workout tips and ideas to help you bypass common holiday health setbacks.
Bloated from the buffet
A steady diet of cocktails and canapes can leave you feeling full, puffy and uncomfortable – mostly from water retention. The key is to drink lots of water and fit in cardio workout moves to sweat out the toxins. Exercise helps your body use excess water and shifts a lot of water into your muscles, which can reduce the puffy look and feel caused by retaining water.
Try some cardio. Jump on the elliptical for 30 minutes or enjoy a bike ride or a brisk walk to get sweating and sped up digestion. Yoga moves like a torso twist, elongated triangle, sphinx and cat-cow are also good to work muscles and get your gut working normally again, as well as reduce puffiness.
Not enough sleep
Back-to-back holiday parties, late nights spent wrapping, plus shopping, holiday concerts, cooking and more can leave you exhausted. Unfortunately, it feels like there’s never enough time to sleep during the holiday countdown. It seems counterintuitive, but when you’re tired exercise is a great solution. Research shows people who complain of fatigue could increase their energy by 20 percent and decrease fatigue by as much as 65 percent by simply participating in regular low-intensity exercise.
Some great workouts for when you’re tired include incline walking or a light jog, pilates, dynamic stretching, or a group fitness class that will boost energy and morale.
Feeling the pressure
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, but for many, the pressures of the holidays can be stressful. Family visits, battling crowds at shopping malls, filling an endless ‘to do’ list can take away your Holiday Zen.
Working out is a perfect way to vent negative energy and minimize the effects of stress. When you exercise, your body reduces stress hormones like cortisol and increases the production of feel-good hormones (endorphins). A good workout can clear your mind and gets the blood flowing. It improves sleep and helps with digestion. Deep breathing, stretching, yoga, or a cardio session can make all the difference. Lifting weights for some strength training moves can help you vent extra stress energy.
Lost your motivation
For many people, the holidays prompt the urge to lounge on the couch....sometimes for days. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to return to the gym. The key is to remind yourself of the benefits. Exercise can help increase your energy and decrease your appetite. There is a sense of accomplishment during the holiday season. You look better and your confidence increases.
The best exercises to boost motivation and energy are ones you enjoy. Try something new, like martial arts or a dance-inspired fitness class. Or get outside and enjoy skating, hiking or a run. Plan your workout around potential wins and set achievable goals to stay motivated.
You need a healthy party glow – right NOW
Feeling a bit wilted after work? Try fitting in a quick workout at the gym or even at your desk to get your second wind and hit the town. For a quick sweat-free sculpting workout, try squats, lunges, planks, tricep dips and push-ups to improve posture, muscle tone and get your glow on.
Finding time to visit with friends
Instead of hitting the pub for nachos, consider meeting up for a run or hitting a yoga class together. The opportunity to catch up while exercising is a productive way to use your time together. You’ll be able to challenge and motivate each other while benefiting from the feel-good endorphins that happen when you sweat together.
Not sure how to start your fitness resolutions?
Instead of waiting for after the new year to re-start your fitness routine, why not use the extra time over the holidays to get a head start? Build in some gym time while work and routine are slower. It’s better to gradually increase your activity so you’re already underway when January 1 hits.