The countdown to Christmas has begun and no doubt we’re all looking forward to going home: heating, a dishwasher – and a table filled with pigs in blankets, turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes. My mouth is already watering, and to prepare yourself for the unlimited chocolates and lazy days watching The Grinch on the sofa, here’s a few ways to keep fit and feel good before driving home for Christmas.
Getting to the gym is always a good start (even if you don’t enter, at least you can say you’ve been) for weight work-outs, cardio or classes. When you’re not in the mood to run or cross train and the machines feel too heavy, book in for spin, body pump or even a quick abs class to keep your body working and to make room for an extra slice of Christmas pudding.
When the thought of leaving your room – or bed for that matter – is too terrifying, I’ve put together a list of ten exercises to help burn those calories whilst blasting out a Christmas playlist – you can even wear a Santa hat if you wish.
Each exercise will last for one minute and can be done anywhere in your house, depending on how much space you have. If you feel extra jingley, repeat the sequence to really work your body; so let’s begin to tick off Santa’s Christmas list, which reads:
- Deep squats: Move your feet apart just wider than shoulder’s width and squat down to try and get your bum as low as you can (as if you’re about to sit down) but take your time!
- Lunges on alternating legs: Start by placing your right leg in front, lunge down so your left leg is at a 90-degree angle nearly touching the floor; then step back and change legs.
- Star jumps: Jump and move your legs wider than your shoulders (to look like an upside down ‘V’) whilst your arms are raised above your head and brought back down to your side. Your final one can put the star on top of the Christmas tree.
- High knee sprint to Santa’s Grotto: Raise your knees as high as you can and as quick as possible. Use your arms to add momentum.
- Jumping squats: Distance your feet about shoulder width apart and squat down. From here, jump up, lifting your feet off the floor, before landing and going straight into another squat.
- Alternating front kicks: Start with your left leg and kick forward, holding your upper half back slightly using your abs.
- Alternating side kicks (try not to hit Rudolf): Try to kick to the left and right side as high as you can. Keep your legs strong and tilt your body slightly to the opposite side, holding your abs tight.
- Mountain climbers: Get onto your hands and toes and arch your bum into the air. Bring your left knee into your chest before moving it back to starting position and bringing your right knee in. Keep them quick!
- Sit ups: Lie on your back and using your abs – not using your neck or arms to pull your head up – and raise your upper body towards your knees.
- Plank: Rest on your elbows and toes – the further apart your legs the easier it is – and hold this position without letting your body arch, keeping your bum down.
If a minute feels too long, don’t feel obliged to continue and have a breather – why do you think we leave Santa a glass of milk and mince pies?
So, although it’s much harder to motivate yourself in these cold days, and the idea of food is much more tempting than exercise, your body will be feeling ready for the stretchy trousers and over heaped plate of food. Christmas is the time to stuff yourself and nobody can resist those extra portions – we need the extra calories to keep us warm anyway – but before doing so, sneak in a ten minute exercise regime (or try doubling it) to stop feeling guilty about indulging in your favourite foods.
As a bonus, there’s always post-Christmas work outs so no matter what, you won’t be feeling like a stuffed turkey for too long…
Images courtesy of lifevesthealthblog.files.wordpress.com