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November 18

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10 Tips for Christmas Holiday Health and Fitness Success

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The Christmas holiday season is typically the time when our health, fitness and eating habits fall apart. On 2nd January, when you feel tired, out of shape and a few pounds heavier, it can be discouraging to think about getting back to the point where you left off a few weeks earlier.

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Take heart! It's not too late to salvage that healthy lifestyle you've worked so hard at.

Here are some tips that can help. Choose one or two that will work for you, and see if it doesn't make a difference this year.

Christmas Health & Fitness Success tip 1: Stay committed to regular workouts

Stay committed to regular workouts to keep your health and fitness successful over Christmas

Even if you have to cut your usual workout time in half.

Lack of time, due to busy holiday schedules, seems to be the most common reason for giving up on a workout programme.

Remember that a little bit is better than none!

Shorter workouts may not improve your fitness level, but they can certainly maintain your current level of fitness.

Work out 2 to 3 days per week, rather than 4 or 5

Like shorter workouts, less frequent workouts will help you maintain the level of fitness you've worked so hard to attain.

Maintenance is not regression. Remember that.

Approach those tempting (and high calorie) buffet tables with caution and keep your health & fitness front of mind during the Christmas season

Taste, sample and enjoy all the treats, just don't fill up on them.

I've found it helps to eat a healthy meal before going to a holiday party, and then just enjoy little bits of those waistline expanding treats.

Christmas Health & Fitness Success Tip 4: Take a few minutes each day for a quiet time out

Take a few minutes each day for a quiet time out

Even if you can't fit in a work­out, try this simple re-energising technique.

10-minute time out

step 1

Sit tall

Sit up tall in a chair or on the floor.

step 2

Inhale exhale

Breathe in long streams of air through your nose, and exhale through your mouth.

step 3

Slow down

Slow down your breathing rate until you can do a slow 5-count inhale and 5-count exhale.

step 4

Let go

Maintain good posture, but try to relax as you focus on your breathing.

After as little as five to ten minutes, your batteries should feel somewhat re-charged.

Break up your aerobic conditioning into small segments

Intersperse it through­out your day.

If you normally do 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at one time, do three 10-minute segments whenever you can fit them in.

A brisk walk in the morning, the middle and at the end of your day will keep your heart healthy, burn calories and boost your energy.

Commit to a quick workout with a friend or family member

Make a date, schedule in the time, and determine to keep each other accountable.

When you've made a commitment to another person, you're less likely to let your busy to-do-list take the place of your scheduled workout. They can help keep your health & fitness on track throughout the Christmas period.

Christmas Health & Fitness Tip 7: Focus your energy on one healthy habit during this busy time

Focus your energy on one healthy habit during this busy time

Rather than trying to do everything, concentrate on one aspect of health that is important to you.

If you've made huge changes in your eating habits this past year, focus on healthy eating.

If you've finally got yourself on a regular, consistent exercise schedule, focus on getting in some regular workouts.

Don't overwhelm yourself with too much, but don't do too little!

Do a quick strength workout at home or the office

All you need is just your body weight and a chair.

Start with a set of push-ups, then do a set of triceps dips on the chair.

Give your arms a rest and move on to a wall squat and a front lunge.

Finish with sets of ab curls and back extension.

Although not a complete workout, it targets the majority of your major muscle groups.

Christmas Health & Fitness Success Tip 9: Try to eat regular healthy meals at normally scheduled times

Try to eat regular healthy meals at normally scheduled times

When you get busy and skip meals, you'll tend to overeat or binge out on junk food when you do finally take the time to eat.

Keep some healthy snacks with you and be aware of what and when you're eating

Remember how good you feel when you're exercising and eating healthy

If you make your healthy lifestyle a priority, you'll stay energised, less stressed,

If you do nothing else, remember this one thing...

Go easy on yourself.

It's been a tough year in many ways. Sure, it would be nice to kick some major health & fitness goals over the Christmas break. However, if you need a few weeks to back off the pressure and kick back, then so be it.

You can always pick up where you left off early in the New Year.

About the author

Paul Stokes

Paul Stokes BSc (Hons) is a Certified Personal Trainer, Accredited Sports Nutritionist, qualified Exercise to Music Instructor, Precision Nutrition coach, Massage Therapist and teaches 8 of the Les Mills Group Exercise programs.

He currently works in the Oil & Gas industry as a Wellness Coach, imparting his vast knowledge and experience to improve the quality of life of several hundred offshore workers.

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