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Christmas & Exercise

Christmas and Exercise

By Richard Brodie

It’s that time of year again!! Wow how fast has this year gone? Time really does seem to speed up when you get older!  I remember when I was younger and someone said to me, “it fly’s by after 21 “, how right he was! Here I am 20 plus years later wondering what’s happened, where have the years gone?

Okay, how do we keep on top of our training in the Christmas period?  Well with Christmas comes big temptations, the Christmas party, the nights out, the Christmas’s dinners, booze etc…. The list goes on and on. It’s a very tough time of year to keep to any goals or targets you`ve set for yourself. Hence why people make New Year’s resolutions!! You’ve worked hard all year and this is the time to relax and spend time with your family. There is no shame in that. But does it mean we have to give up on our goals? No of course not!  So, what can we do? Well firstly, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself; if anything if you have been training hard then you’re probably ready for a rest anyway. Instead of not doing anything at all, think of it as taking your foot of the gas. And by that, I mean lowering the intensity of your training. This way you are still being active but can maintain some form of fitness etc…. We don’t improve but we don’t lose too much either. Think of it as active recovery.

They are 7 days in the week and all we`re asking for is 2-3 days of doing some form of physical exercise, from around 30 – 60 minutes long. If you think of it this way it doesn’t seem a lot. But it’s enough for what we want. Now think out of the box, it doesn’t have to be the form of exercise that you think. It could simply be (and I seem to say this a lot) going for a long walk, if you have children then get them involved. Make it fun. Weather permitting that is, but if we are lucky / unlucky,  depending how you want to look at it, to get snow then go out and have that snow ball fight, build the snowman. It’s all about spending quality time, time goes so quickly we should enjoy every moment.  It could be going for a swim, again get the children involved, if you can get the bikes out go for that bike ride. Go climbing, if you’ve never done it, I encourage you to give it a go. It’s about being active. And of course, we have the gym. Some people like to get in early, that way it is done for the day.

Food and alcohol; like i said the temptation at this time of year is to eat and drink more than we should. It is very, very high indeed. So what can we do? How can we make this easier on ourselves?

1- Alcohol, try not to drink too much. Be sensible but also drink more water, we should be drinking around 2 – 3 litres a day anyway but if we are overdoing it with the alcohol, you’re going to be very dehydrated and need to drink more water. Plus this keeps hunger at bay. We can mistake hunger for thirst so by having a glass of water can keep us from over indulging.

2- Eat more fruit and vegetables, now for some this can seem boring and if you`re reading this it might look like blah blah blah!!! But why? If you are doing some kind of exercise, or even if you’re not this still should be a must. Do your research. If you look at the benefits of fruit and vegetables in your diet you will be amazed. Again, get the children involved. Monkey does what monkey sees. (I`m not saying you’re children are monkeys, unless you are one clever little monkey reading this, you never know!) I simply mean our children copy everything we do so why not give them a head start in life by showing them that eating fruit and vegetables isn’t a bad thing.  Make smoothies / juices etc… Look at how to cook and make vegetables tastier. There are lots of things we can do. Yes, even with sprouts!

3- Portion sizes / eat slower. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to register that the belly is full but it takes us about 10 minutes to finish a plate of food. This means we can still feel hungry so we go for the pudding or an extra portion of turkey etc… By eating slower this can reduce that hunger feeling. By having smaller portions, you won’t feel like you need to finish the plate. I think we see this as a challenge for ourselves. If we have larger portions, we aim to finish it giving us a sense of accomplishment but by eating an extra 1000 calories in the process that we don’t need.

4- Treats, now this one is the little ninja when it comes to eating the extra calories we don’t wont. We just eat them for the sake of it because they are on the table or in the cupboards. So how do we fight this one? Well apart from not buying them, this is the obvious way. If you haven’t got them you can’t eat them right? But we want a little treat don’t we! What we can do is opt for the healthy options; it doesn’t always have to be Quality Street or After Eights. You could try making your own tasty treats. It’s entirely up to you. There are plenty of recipes online.

At the end of the day it’s just about moderation. Christmas and the holiday period is a time to enjoy and spend with those we love.

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