The season of merriment and wild excess is upon us! If you’ve been living a healthy lifestyle for most of the year, it can be tempting to give in and gorge on all those fattening feasts and vats of mulled wine, scoffing mince pies and indulgently rich cake like there’s no tomorrow. The 12 days of Christmas — and the parties that lead up to it and after, including booze-soaked New Year’s celebrations — can be enough to scupper your fitness plans and add pounds to your waistline.
It’s no wonder that by the time the new year appears and we’re all back to work in the bleak, early days of January, many of us hang our heads in shame at our Yuletide overindulgences and consider heading back to the gym.
But can you have your Christmas cake and eat it? Can you enjoy the best of the festive season and still get away with having a healthy life? Do we really need to give up on everything at this time of year and eat and drink with abandon and forget all we’ve achieved to stay in shape during the year? Of course not, because there’s lots we can do to maintain our fitness levels, and keep our tummy in check, during this most health-challenging of celebratory holidays.
Walking Home For Christmas
At this dark and cold time of year, it’s tempting to just crash down on the sofa and stay there in front of the TV until it’s time to crawl into bed. That’s a health mistake, however, as sitting for long periods is just not good for your body. Constant sitting is so bad that some have even called it the “new smoking“. So the message during Christmas, as with other months of the year, is to get up and keep on moving and do some stretches and bodyweight exercises while you’re at it.
It doesn’t only apply to around the house either, but at work too. If you’re deskbound for long stretches, get out of that chair every 10 minutes or so and have a quick walkaround. If you’re taking the bus or some other form of public transport to town, get off a few stops early and walk. Heading to shopping centres to get all those Christmas gifts? Take the stairs instead of the escalator and lift and you’ll be getting in a workout too — that’s a real health gift to yourself.
What about all that incredibly rich food — not just at home, but offered at relatives and friends’ houses you visit during Christmas? You can certainly go for healthy options like vegetarian or vegan dishes, which are not only better for you but also the planet. Vegan and vegetarian food is also less calorie-dense, meaning you can have more. But if that’s not to your taste, you can always try limiting the amount you eat — instead of filling up so much every time you sit down that you find your stomach is overloaded and you can hardly stand up and all you want to do is lie down and watch TV. Use smaller plates instead of great, big ones, and you’ll find you’ll eat less because they don’t hold as much. You’ll feel lighter afterwards, and better. For drinks, consider healthier choices, like red wine, whose properties may help to improve or protect your heart and other aspects of your health — just don’t overdo it.
Frosty The Smokeman
Let’s face it, no one likes a smoker in their midst, blowing out those hazardous clouds that actually kill too. And it can be a real party killer if you have to keep stepping outside into the freezing December night to have a few puffs — only to come back in reeking of tobacco smoke. If you’re single and on the lookout for love this festive season, who would want to kiss that?
Thankfully, real help is at hand for those who are desperate to quit smoking cigarettes, and it comes in the form of the e-cigarette, which many smokers start using by getting vape kits. As the NHS says, it’s one of the most effective ways to stop smoking for good. You avoid all the many toxic chemicals in burning tobacco while getting the nicotine you want — as well as the many fruity and other flavours from an astounding array of vape juice offerings.
Staying fit and healthy during the holiday season doesn’t mean you can’t have a merry little Christmastime, and when it’s all over you certainly won’t be feeling mistlelow, and whine.