Welcome to the official countdown to Christmas! As the chilly days finally click over into December and we bust out the first window of our advent calendars (or protein calendars), we can now officially jingle our bells and deck our halls. The festive season is here… and so are the hectic schedules.
Come December, fitness routines tend to go out the window. Between Christmas parties, work socials, mulled wine tastings and mince pie marathons, the gym and your usual fitness activities can hardly get a look in. It can be hard to feel motivated to haul your tired bod to your workout, but we’ve got 10 reasons why you should stay fit this festive season.
So keep your sports top on underneath your Christmas jumper and don’t lose momentum in hitting your fitness goals - we’re on a mission to get you staying fit this December.
10 Reasons to stay fit this festive season
1. The gyms will be quieter
It’s no secret that December see’s low attendance in gyms and workout activities. It’s dark, cold and everyone would rather be at the Christmas markets, ticking off their shopping list or sinking a few festive beverages.
Take advantage of this and hit your gym! More machines will be available for your super sets, you’ll have plenty of space to stretch it out, and you won’t have to battle to get your booking for your favourite class.
2. Keep your energy levels up
December can feel more like a month and a half - it can be utterly exhausting! Exercise is famed for increasing your energy levels and keeping you on the ball.
Stay alert and full of beans by sticking to your routines - you’ll be fighting fit to take on the cardio of Christmas shopping, dodging and diving through the crowds to snag that perfect gift. Not to mention, avoiding a doze at your desk after a hectic weekend!
3. Battle the bloat
If you tend to suffer from bloating, then you know that December is going to be a test. With salty, rich foods and boozy night, it can aggravate your gut making you feel pretty sluggish and uncomfortable.
Cardio may help relieve bloating as it aids gas to pass through the digestive system. Slot in 25 to 30 minutes of cardio (swimming, cycling, jogging, aerobics etc) 3 - 5 times a week to help your gut as much as you can.
4. Get deeper sleeps
Put down the nightcap, people. If you want to ensure you get deep sleeps and wake feeling rested, then be sure to get your heart pumping during the week. Exercise promotes slow-wave sleep (slow brain waves), which is a deep, intense sleep which leads to the individual waking refreshed and restored.
Taking part in some cardio after work will also elevate your core body temperature - it takes hours for our body to cool but as our temperatures drop, it invites sleep onset. Exercising 5 hours before your bedtime will help you drop off quicker, plus increase your chances of falling into that delicious slow-wave sleep. Check out our other tips on getting a decent night’s kip.
5. Boost your immune system
Usually stockpile Kleenex and cough drops when December rolls around? When you run yourself ragged, you’re at risk of catching a cold or the dreaded flu - your immune system needs all the help it can get!
Stay on top of your vitamins and healthy eating, but keep up your fitness to ensure you stay fighting fit for attacking germs:
- Physical activity may help flush bacteria out the lungs and make your antibodies and white blood cells circulate more rapidly around the body - all which can help combat sickness.
- The rise in body temperature can also help your body fight infections better.
- Exercise can slow down the release of stress hormones - some of which can compromise the immune system's performance.
Get a pesky cold? Find out if you should continue working out when you’re sneezing and wheezing.
6. Stimulate your metabolism
Throw yourself into high intensity workouts to fire up your metabolism! Not only will you be burning more calories during the actual session, but it keeps your metabolism in a higher gear for hours afterwards. Data from the National Weight Control Registry shows that daily exercise of around 45 - 60 minutes could remodel your metabolism - your body will burn more fat. Just be sure to keep excess calorie consumption in check!
So haul yo ass off the couch watching Christmas films and eating tubs of Celebrations - get outside and do a brisk 45-minute walk to help amp up your metabolism during this season of consumption.
7. Keep on track to your fitness goals
Falling off the fitness wagon happens. We get it. And we remember that feeling of letting routines slide because of summer holidays! But combine the wintery weather with feeling lethargic and bloated from festive fun, and we know it will be HELL to get back on fitness after Christmas.
So avoid the new year panic. Avoid the new year dread, and keep your routines as normal as possible. Book in your workout sessions and make them work around any social events and predicted hangovers. Try to keep them frequent and keep your fitness levels up so it’s not too hard getting back into your usual routines come January.
8. Be festive and fit!
There are plenty of things you can get up to over the festive season which will keep you moving! You may not be able to jet off to Sri Lanka for an exotic surf holiday this Christmas, but you can hunt out fun things that will get your blood pumping:
- Check out the UK’s best outdoor ice skating rinks to visit this winter.
- Explore these ace winter walks in the UK.
9. Get a head start….
If you’re new to exercise, take advantage of quiet gyms and classes - get a head start on your fitness. If you're a touch nervous about kicking off a new fitness lifestyle, need to overcome gym-intimidation or are keen to explore new fitness options without dealing with crowds, then December workouts should be on your to do list.
Over the next few weeks, start slow and build up your fitness levels for the new year! Not only will you feel revitalised and get the benefits of the above points throughout December, but January won’t seem so intimidating with endless New Year Resolutions.
10. Kick off the new year feeling fab!
And lastly, a brilliant reason to stay fit this festive season is to enter a new year feeling awesome and at the top of your game. Don’t put it off for the new year - get stuck in now and keep yourself on track. No January Blues here!
Let us all celebrate in the festive fun and countdown to Christmas, but don’t forget to maintain your fitness standards. It may feel like a pain in the behind to drag yourself to your sessions when the city is full of Prosecco and pigs in blankets… but your body will thank you come 1st January.