Christmas is upon us which often means that people often tend to be caught up in the moment of purchasing last minute gifts for loved ones, relaxing from the work and over indulging in festive foods. A large proportion of people opt to replace their current physical activity and exercise routines with these seemingly ‘more important’ tasks. However, it does not need to be a choice between completing one or the other this year. Planning and preparation prior to the commencement of Christmas will ensure that you are able to maintain and/or initiate your exercise routine with relative ease.
A person’s health is what allows them to function and participate in activities of daily living. Exercise is an integral part in the maintenance of health, as it helps to improve biomechanical function and reduce the risk of acquiring preventable diseases (e.g. heart disease). However, exercise is commonly the first victim of an individual’s holiday season as alternate activities and end of year complacency sets in. To prevent a decrease in motivation and desire to complete your exercise regime, you must ensure that your program is efficient and sustainable.
Goal setting is an essential component to ensuring your exercise program is successful these holidays. Setting SMART goals will ensure that your training and effort has a purpose instead of an aimless agenda. For example, an overweight 46-year-old male who walks every day and can currently complete a 4km in 50 minutes wants to complete a 5km walk in under one hour.
- To walk 5km in under one hour in 30 days
- Track progress each day by recording your times via either note pad or smart phone application
- One month is a reasonable amount of time to achieve the desired physical adaptation to achieve the goal
- This goal is applicable as it relates to the individuals interests and his need for the reduction of cardio-metabolic risk factors for preventable disease
- Time based
- The individual will complete 5-6 days a week of walking for one hour where times will be recorded after each session.
The same formula can be applied to your diet over the festive season. Do not feel obliged to eat more than you would normally as this, combined with minimal physical activity, may lead to disappointment on the scales. Select the foods you are most wanting to sample and plan to consume a sensible portion of each within reason.
In summary, during this holiday season ensure that you prepare early so that you have clarity around how you will enact your plan to exercise over the holiday break. Use goal setting as a tool to provide purpose and meaning to your exercise routine.