We completely understand that Christmas is a time of year when exercise isn’t exactly at the top of your agenda (even Reformer Pilates). Even if you like to maintain a regular fitness routine, it’s perfectly all right to allow yourself a break over the party season – you are human after all! A little bit of what you fancy does you good, and a few drinks and festive meals aren’t going to do too much harm. But if you want to bounce back in the New Year, it is a good idea to make sure you do at least some exercising in between all the merrymaking.
Any kind of physical activity will help you get back into your exercise routine in the New Year, not to mention replenish energy levels from excessive consumption and TV watching. Here are our suggestions for staying in shape over Christmas even if you’re not intending to come to our Reformer Pilates sessions or go to the gym.
Standing up – While standing up all the time isn’t good for you, having a balance between sitting and standing is. An experiment into the benefits of standing up conducted for the BBC found that standing increases the heart rate and burns more calories (a fantastic Christmas incentive!).
Walking – Whatever the weather, make sure you get out for a walk every day for at least half an hour. Walking is a wonderful exercise that is good for the body as well as the mind, especially if you’re in a natural environment – walking in nature is great for your mental health. Walking on your own can become very meditative and many people say they have their best ideas while they’re walking. On the other hand, if you’re walking with family or friends, you’ll get the benefit of being with other people on top of the benefits of walking. A healthy social life not only improves our quality of life, it also improves our physical and mental health – studies have shown that a rich and fulfilled social life can increase our longevity, reduce depression and enhance the immune system.
Cycling – Did you get the kids bikes for Christmas? Instead of watching them enjoy their gifts, get your own bike out and join them! There are as many health benefits of cycling as there are for walking. If you’re worried about cycling on the roads, check the National Cycle Network or your local government website for nearby cycle routes.
Ice-skating – It’s likely that an ice rink has popped up somewhere near you for the winter. Skating’s a great form of exercise and will help you tone your core and increase your balance, flexibility and co-ordination.
Snowball fight – OK, so the likelihood of having a white Christmas is low, and the likelihood of having enough snow to make a snowman is even lower. But if the UK weather did happen to follow the cheesy Christmas movies by giving us a decent amount of lovely snow, getting outside and having a wonderful time is a great way to burn calories and keep fit.
Pilates – You don’t need a reformer bed to do Pilates. There are plenty of free Pilates classes online that are suitable for beginners or as gentle exercises for the experienced. All you’ll need is a space in which to do them, a yoga mat (or large towel) and a bit of peace and quiet.
If you’re good and try to have a balanced diet for most of the year, a few mince pies aren’t going to make much difference. But it’s still a good idea to be careful about the food you eat so you can be as healthy as possible… and yes, Brussels sprouts count – in fact, they’re super healthy!
Yes, we know you’ll probably indulge in at least one small mulled wine, but the drink we’re talking about is, of course, water. Water keeps you hydrated and is therefore essential if you’ve overindulged on the bubbly. It also helps suppress the appetite and boosts the metabolism, so make sure you remember to keep your water intake as high as possible.
If you do want to keep up with your Reformer Pilates throughout the festive season, you can. We close on the afternoon of Christmas Eve and will reopen between 27th and 31st December. Then it’s back to business as usual on 2nd January to work off the rest of the Christmas excess.
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