Cardio at Christmas

Keeping on top of your cardiovascular fitness over the festive season.

With your fitness journey for the year coming to close, many of you will be wondering if you'll stick to your plans over the Christmas season given the opportunity to relax and be with friends and family. The festive season should be enjoyed of course to the full and you should see your family and friends as much as you can but you can still plan some fitness time into your schedule if you think outside the box.

As you may have gathered by now the daylight hours are shorter and the temperature is slowly decreasing on a daily basis so it's understandable if some of you don't want to get out and remain active but fear not! We're here to help you face the fear of the cold and stay fit during a difficult time of year so let's begin at looking what you can do to remain in the best shape cardiovascular wise over Christmas!

Stay loose as a goose

The importance of staying flexible in a typical week should be high for most of you so your range of movement is at its best and to avoid potential injury whilst exercising. Christmas shouldn't be any different for you and despite relaxing with family and friends you should have an aim to still practice the good things you've been doing over the last eleven months. Give yourself a routine as normal as drinking enough water or taking your vitamins every morning or night and stick to it if you know you're not going to be as active as you usually are. The rules you want to adhere to are;

  • Stretch for between 10-20 seconds
  • Activate your entire body when stretching - head to toe
  • Target the areas you wish to remain in good shape. If you've worked hard to build your shoulders, then work a little harder to keep that muscle set as loose as possible.
  • Once your warm from stretching make sure to wrap up and avoid injury from becoming cold.

These general ideas should see you remain near the top of your game over Christmas and stay in a good range of movement so that when you decide to go back to work on your health journey you aren't hurting from your regime and have less chance to get an injury of sorts.

Get out and face the cold

Don't be afraid to get outside and get active! The cold weather might be near or below zero and your motivation might be the lowest it's been as your friends invite you out and about but face the fear of the cold and stay active when you can. You don't want to undo all the work you've done over the year for just one month of festivities do you? So don't allow yourself become fully inactive. Stay ahead of your goals and smash the turkey gut out the way with these simple rules;

  • Remember how hard it's going to be to step back into your regime with four weeks of inactivity.
  • Schedule your fitness goals before your social goals.
  • Wrap up warm if you're heading outside - remaining warm through your workout is easy to do if you're dressed correctly, so get those thermal layers on.
  • A good thermal layer is sometimes all you'll need and many layers of non-technical clothing can make you sweat but hold all that cold sweat on top of meaning when you stop you'll become colder quicker. Invest in some high-tech clothing to really feel the support and the difference to that old hoodie you insist on wearing.
  • When you get back home be sure to cool down if you haven't done so already with some more stretches and have a hot shower before you wrap up warm again for the day to give your body the best chance to recuperate properly.

However, you want to stay active over Christmas it can be done successfully and properly by following the simplest rules. Stay focused on your year's goals and remember that if you go back to your regime cold and with no previous work over the last four weeks then you'll struggle to adapt quickly enough and maybe fall behind in your overall aim for yourself.

Work together

Something that a lot of you will overlook whilst we're in the midst of the Christmas season and that you maybe have not been a fan of is working out with a group. We all sometimes like to have our own space and be in our little bubble of health but with the days being colder and your enthusiasm for staying fit maybe lacking, a great way to stay enthused is to work with a group if you can. The group will work hard individually but also push each other on meaning you're not only trying to better yourself but you can drag someone along with you and also be the beneficiary of some motivation and encouragement.

If you're part of a group, you also have the thought in the back of your mind that you will be letting people down if you don't turn up which will keep you motivated to keep working. Will power is good but times that by five or ten and the overwhelming feeling of achievement between you all and personally will outweigh whatever cold you feel in the cold morning or night air.

Written by:

Taeo Robinson

Taeo Robinson

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