After a long, challenging year, we wager that you are more than ready to savour a hard-earned and much-needed holiday. While the festive season is indeed a wonderful time to relax, reflect, and unwind, it is important not to completely lose focus when it comes to maintaining your physical health. You should still strive to do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day.
Finding time to exercise is hard enough when you have a daily routine. Throw a holiday into the mix, and the thought of it can become intimidating!
The good news is that you can find creative ways to exercise no matter where you are this December – whether you’re heading off to the beach, on safari, visiting the in-laws, or simply making the most of a staycation. Here’s how to go about it, and why you would want to be exercising in the first place.
Why you should be exercising, even when on holiday
Keeping up your exercise regime throughout the holidays is a great idea if you want to avoid giving up on your health goals completely. The festive season is known to be a time for snacking on decadent nibbles and savouring heartier meals. Luckily, exercise will allow you to enjoy these special indulgences and keep fit.
As much as holiday time is meant to be about relaxing, the festive season can sometimes prove to be a lot more stressful than you had originally anticipated. From impressing friends and family with an immaculate home, to braving those queues when shopping for Christmas gifts and serving up a tasty feast for the masses on Christmas Day, you’re certain to have a lot on your plate. Exercise can play a role in helping you cope with this stress, all the while boosting your mood with a decent dose of endorphins.
Finally, your exercise routine provides you with a familiar sense of structure, which can assist you in resisting the temptation to throw all of your good habits out of the window!
How to incorporate exercise into your festive season schedule
If you are going to be holidaying outside of your hometown, the chances are high that you won’t be popping into the gym or attending your regular boot camp classes. Fear not – there are many other ways to get that heart rate up and kick-start your metabolism.
Start by adding some activities to your itinerary that will encourage your travel party to get moving – there are a number of water-based activities to try out, such as swimming, sailing, and paddle surfing, or book your group in for some fun surfing lessons.
Prefer land-based activities? Then take the family for a scenic hike in the mountains or a walking safari. Enjoy horse riding? How about a horse or beach safari with the family.
If you’re out doing some sight-seeing, try to avoid calling an Uber or using public transport. Instead, opt to walk from place to place, or hire a bicycle and pedal your way around town.
When you find yourself with time to spare in the mornings or evenings, roll out your yoga mat and resistance bands (they both travel well) and do some stretches and postures. You could even look for a few yoga class tutorials on YouTube to help get you started.
Be strategic about your workouts
Even the best-laid plans get derailed, but just as you make plans for the holiday, be sure that you also reserve some ‘me time’ to fit in a few workout sessions. Focus on performing exercises that target multiple muscle groups for maximum impact in minimal time. These exercises are often called ‘compound exercises’ and include:
- Squats that target the glutes, calves, and quadriceps. Turn them into air squats with fast repetitive movements to add some cardio to your workout.
- Deadlifts that target the lats, forearms, core, hamstrings, and back.
- Planking that targets the core, shoulders, upper back, chest, biceps, and hips.
- Forward and backward lunges to strengthen the legs and buttocks, and are great for core stability.
Remember – the summer season in South Africa can get particularly hot.
When soaring temperatures are combined with breaking a sweat during exercise, taking action to stay hydrated becomes even more important. Drink plenty of water or look for nutritional products from reputable brands that contain lots of electrolytes, such as sodium, magnesium, and calcium, to ensure that you stay hydrated. Alternatively, fuel your workouts and activities with easy-to-digest carbohydrates or protein in the form of a delicious shake as part of your recovery programme and healthy active lifestyle.
Turn exercise into part of the festive season fun. A healthy body and a happy holiday can go hand-in-hand – you just have to make it happen!
- This content has been sponsored by Herbalife.