The end of the year is often a time where people crave a change of pace, some time with family and friends and a break in routine. It is common to question whether or not you should also have a break from exercise during this time. The answer I have for you may surprise you a little ….
While routine and a regular commitment to an exercise program are important for progress, there is also good benefit in occasionally shifting gears and giving your body a change of pace. For most people the festive season is a good logical time to do this, however like all things we have are a few recommendations to maximise the benefit of this short break and not lose all the progress you have made throughout the year.
- Have a break in your regular structured sessions but try to limit this to only a few weeks. Our body will start to show signs of muscle breakdown after a couple of weeks away from regular strengthening exercises, hence it is good to set a limit to how long your break will be.
- Lose your structure but don’t become completely sedentary. Try to look for easy ways to stay active that are incidental rather than programmed. Meeting someone for lunch? Where possible and practical, try to find a way to meet them that involves a bit more walking. Take advantage of the festive season sales and walk around the shopping centre. Spend some more time in the garden to keep the body active in a different way.
Some other simple suggestions to stay healthy over the festive season include:
- Leave the stuffing for the chicken or turkey! It is easy to over-eat at family events and functions. Some easy ways to watch your intake are to slow down the pace at which you eat, add regular sips of water in between bites and to spend more time chewing each bite.
- Mix your drink choices up to add a glass of water between other carbonated beverages. During the festive season many people over-do the alcohol, soft drinks and fruit punches at events. To try and balance out your intake of sugary and alcoholic beverages, add a glass of water in between drinks.
- Remember tis the season of joy and a time to be jolly! Take some moments to relax and unwind. Try to focus on the positives rather than worrying about things that don’t go quite to plan – they often make for the best stories. Embrace the fact that you have permission to slow down and take it easy for a few weeks.