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12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide

15 November 2012
12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide: Standard measures
12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide: Standard measures

Day 1: Go for a festive picnic

A festive picnic is the perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit.  In your hamper pack some warm salmon fritters, a flask of squash soup and some mini turkey tartlets made with filo pastry and cranberries. Brandy soaked satsumas, roasted chestnuts and a cranberry, almond and yoghurt-coated raisin mix are all great holiday treats.  

Day 2: Short bursts

So, you’ve got your in-laws coming round for dinner and you’re catching a Christmas movie after work with your colleagues. Time is often precious and in short supply at Christmas, but on days like this break down your exercise into small, 10 minute sections. 10 minutes when you get up, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes when you get home in the evening. Studies have found that short sessions like these are still effective. 

Day 3: Santa run

Santa runs have become ever more popular and you can see why; dressing up in a Santa outfit and running with other festive folk is a great way to stay active and have some holiday fun. Booking yourself onto a Santa run will mean that you will stay focused before Christmas and won’t let your fitness regime slide. Most Santa runs are 5k or 10k, so everyone can get involved and walking isn’t frowned upon.

 Day 4: Standard measures

Tonight you’re throwing a special Christmas party at home. Whilst in many ways this is great news for your health (greasy takeaways are not going to be as much of an option at home), it might mean that you get a little heavy handed with your drinks measures. Alcohol is one of the easiest ways to over-indulge this Christmas, so to avoid ruining your health commitments use standard measures.

Day 5: High intensity 

Zero time means that you should swap longer workouts for high intensity sessions. Circuit training, interval training or slow sessions with weights are all great ways to get the most out of a shorter workout. Jumping rope, the plank and other exercises using your bodyweight are also effective, high intensity workouts. To make your sessions festive make a Christmas playlist full of your favourite tunes – just make sure if you’re in the gym you don’t get lost in the moment and start to sing ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ to a burly bloke in a vest.

12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide: Go and pick your tree
12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide: Go and pick your tree

Day 6: Hit the streets  

Although online shopping is handy, the 12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide thinks you should dedicate one, full day to shopping in the non-virtual world. Walking around shops, carrying bags and dashing about as the stores begin to close will mean that you’re getting a decent workout without realising it. Plus, looking at the Christmas window displays and listening to the carols in stores is not to be missed.  

Day 7: Relax   

Today you need to take time to relax. It’s an important part of staying healthy and fit during Christmas, not only because it’s good for your mind and your stress levels, but also because relaxing and resting will mean that you have enough energy to do exercise on other days. Think about how you enjoy relaxing. You might like a hot, steamy bath, an invigorating exfoliating session or a face mask. You might just like to relax in front of the television or lie down and listen to some music. Whatever you prefer, do it and take some time out tonight.

Day 8: Go and pick your tree

You don’t always have to hit the gym or go for a massive run to keep healthy and fit on the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Today, you should go out with family or friends and pick a Christmas tree. Lots of places let you wander through their woods to pick the tree you’d like. Then you and your family or friends can carry the tree to your car.

Day 9: Exercise after food 

If you’re going out for a festive meal tonight try to fit in an exercise session after you’ve eaten. Studies show that exercising after you have eaten reduces blood sugar spikes. This means that you’re much less likely to reach for those mince pies or crisps and dip later in the evening. If you can’t get out for you normal session, you could just suggest going for a walk with the people you’ve eaten with.

Day 10: Decoration fun  

Time and money are both squeezed during December. Going out into the countryside and foraging for materials you can make into decorations will help you and your family or friends get active and save money this Christmas. Depending on your location, you could pick fir cones, which you could later spray with gold and hang with ribbon on your tree. Or you can collect leaves, berries and twigs from outside to make your own Christmas wreath.

Day 11: Active presents   

The best way to stick to the 12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide is to buy gifts that make everyone want to be active. Scooters, bikes, skates or fitness games like tennis on the Wii are all great presents, but they’ll also make you and your friends or family get up off of the sofa and moving. You can also hold a tournament using the gifts you buy to keep people entertained.

Day 12: Do you really want it?

Christmas often involves kicking back and throwing off your normal restraint. Yet often this means that we indulge in too much mindless eating. When you reach across for another handful of salted peanuts, or tuck into another Christmas biscuit, just think: do I really want this? Obviously you should have some treats, but overeating just makes you feel uncomfortable and will mean you have to work harder in the New Year to get back to your pre-Christmas body. Read more on realbuzz.com...
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