Christmas is upon us at last! It’s a wonderful time of year: full of excitement, presents, seeing loved ones, and indulging in delicious food and drink. It’s easy for physical activity to get forgotten about amidst the festivities and celebrations, so here are a few ideas on how to stay active and healthy over Christmas and into the New Year.
Get into the Christmas spirit by going ice skating, or even skiing at a dry or indoor ski slope! You can find your nearest ones here:http://skating-rinks.co.uk/ and http://www.skiclub.co.uk. If you’re not tempted by skiing, some indoor slopes also offer sledging, tubing or tobogganing!
If you’d like something a little less adrenalin-fuelled, how about Nordic walking? Nordic walking involves the use of two poles (similar to ski poles) when walking, which means your entire body is being used as you walk. Nordic walking is a great low-impact activity that improves strength and overall fitness. Find out more here: http://nordicwalking.co.uk/.
Get active in the run-up to Christmas
December can be a busy month getting prepared for Christmas, but why not have a think about how you could make the most of this time and squeeze in some extra activity? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- When buying your Christmas tree, park as far away as possible from the shop and carry it (with the help of someone else ) to the car
- Once your tree is home, pop your box of decorations on the floor and do a squat or a lunge each time you bend down to pick up a decoration
- Walk or cycle to the carol concert instead of driving
- Deliver your Christmas cards by foot
- While out Christmas shopping, walk up the shopping centre escalators
Take part in a Festive Fun Run!
This time of year is the perfect opportunity to take part in a fun run! There are many charity events organised with a festive theme, and one of the most popular is a Santa Run (http://www.santadash.co.uk/)! Have fun with friends, family and hundreds of other walkers, joggers and runners all dressed in identical Santa outfits!
parkrun organise free 5k runs that take place every Saturday morning. This year there will be hundreds of events taking place on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve (both Saturdays), with some venues also organising runs for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Find out what’s happening at your local parkrun here: http://www.parkrun.org.uk/christmas-compendium/
If you’re looking for a supportive group of people to encourage you to get running during the cold, December months, check out AdventRunning (http://www.adventrunning.com/). The AdventRunning challenge encourages you to run (or do any activity, including walking) for 30 minutes a day from December 1st to December 25th. People take part all over the world, and share support and stories through social media.
Change your habits
It can be difficult to make or break habits when we are in a regular, repetitive routine. Over Christmas, however, your routine is different and it can be the perfect opportunity to make a change. Although the Christmas period can be a busy time, there will be lulls when family and friends are relaxing on the sofa – make the most of this free time, and do an activity you enjoy that gives you some ‘me time’.
Dear Father Christmas…
Instead of asking Father Christmas for yet another pair of socks, what else might help you in your venture to become more active? If friends and family are wondering what Christmas gift to get you, why not ask for a piece of kit or equipment, a sports lesson or taster session, a motivational book or a new pair of trainers? Similarly, if you’re struggling to decide what to give to your partner or children, why not choose a gift to help you to get active as a family; a Frisbee, a football, a bike or Twister?
Go on a family walk
After Christmas dinner or on Boxing Day, it’s tempting to have a nap on the sofa whilst recovering from overindulging. Instead, wrap up and head out for a walk with your family or friends. It will help to digest your food, and you’ll feel festive wishing a Merry Christmas to the passers-by. It might help to plan this with the family in advance. You can find some nice walking routes here: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lists/our-best-winter-walks and http://www.ramblers.org.uk/go-walking.aspx.
Set realistic New Year’s Resolutions
After Christmas, New Year is the time for thinking about what changes you’d like to make to your lifestyle and what goals you’d like to set yourself. “Get fit”, “lose weight” or “go to the gym more” are popular resolutions; but how can we make sure 2017 is the years these goals are achieved?
When deciding on you resolution, think of SMART goals. Your resolutions should be: Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. To break this down further:
Specific: Your goals shouldn’t be too vague. Instead of “I will do more exercise”, it could be “I will take part in moderate intensity exercise for 30 minutes 5 times a week”
Measureable: You should be able to measure your progress towards your goal, e.g. by using an activity diary to record when you’ve taken part in exercise.
Achievable: Your goal should be realistic, e.g. “I want to be able to swim 20 lengths without a break”, rather than “I want to swim the channel”.
Relevant: Your goals should be important to you, and something that you yourself want to achieve.
Time-bound: Set a time-frame for your goals, rather than leaving it open-ended, e.g. “I want to be able to run for 30 minutes non-stop in 12 weeks time”.
On New Year’s Eve, set yourself a SMART resolution, write it down and display is somewhere you’ll frequently see it. Share it with your friends and family so they can support you to make 2017 your best year yet.
We would love to hear how you’ve stayed active over Christmas and what goals you’ve set yourself for 2017! Please get in touch by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or find us on Facebook (Let’s Get Moving ukactive). Wishing all our ‘Movers’ a Merry Christmas and a happy (and active) New Year!