Thursday, 10 December 2015

Merry Christmas! Merry Fitness!

Many people find it impossible to keep fit and healthy over Christmas. Everywhere you turn, you are bombarded by food and drink: countless Christmas parties, delectable adverts on the telly, mince pies (home-made by your gran, so it would be rude to refuse!), and of course Prosecco by the bucket load. The most exercise many of us manage over Christmas is the walk to the fridge and back from the sofa. With all that food and drink in your tummy, it’s impossible to even contemplate exercise. Isn’t it?

As a realist, I am not suggesting anybody sticks rigidly to a diet throughout December. It is a month of celebration and joy and we should relax and relish every moment of the festive period. However, the nagging realist in me at the same time, knows how many people feel in January after all of the excesses of the festive period… sluggish, overweight, unfit, depressed, with steely renewed willpower and New Year’s resolutions to change all of the ‘damage’ that we did over Christmas. Often, people put too much pressure on themselves in January with unsustainable New Year’s Resolutions, which consequently fail by week 3, and nobody likes to fail. Failure is accompanied by feelings of worthlessness and reduced self-esteem.

What if somebody had a suggestion that would break this cycle of negativity for you RIGHT NOW? Starting in December? As it happens, I can help you there. Start exercising. Today. Simples. Little and often, keeping it to a level that you are comfortable. This could be a brisk walk, swimming, running, or class work. Assuming you have at least a few days off work, the asset you have over the festive period that you don’t have in January is the benefit of time. Time off away from the day-to-day stresses and distractions of life, that take your focus away from what is most important. YOU. Start to focus on your new fitness regime in December, and you will compensate for the excesses of the parties and meals. You will feel happier, healthier and glowing by January. You may even weigh yourself on January 2nd and find your weight hasn’t crept up like normal and you don’t need to punish yourself for a month.

Do more of the fun part that keeps you fit too! Ride as much as you can over Christmas, then you can spend January ramping up your preparations for the coming season, rather than bringing your horse steadily back into work again. Use the extra time you have for doing raised pole work, and long hacks to help your horse’s fitness as well as your own balance and stamina. Don’t just take my word for it. Go on, give it a go. You won’t regret it!    



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