The Christmas build up has begun and in the middle of the never ending to do list, finding time to exercise can be a challenge. We're out socialising on Christmas dos and up late online shopping for the perfect present, add that to the dark, cold nights, it seems easier to flop onto the sofa with a ready meal instead of dragging yourself to the gym.
But keeping up with exercise still needs to be on your agenda to keep you fighting fit for Christmas. We've put together our top tips on how you can keep yourself motivated and active over the countdown to Christmas.
Make a plan with friends
Commit to at least a couple of nights a week with a friend or colleague to exercise together. It could be an exercise class, a jog around the park, or just power walk on your lunch break. Exercising with a friend can be fun and a great help in supporting you to continue with your fitness programme. Plus, you'll be less likely to cancel last minute because you won't want to let your friend down!
Join the digital revolution
If the shopping and socialising has booked you out for the next few weeks and you can't make it to your regular exercise class or gym, try using that spare 20 minutes to do a quick work out at home with a digital bootcamp or DVD.
Walk, walk and walk some more
Walking is such an easy and often neglected form of physical activity that you can easily incorporate into your everyday life. Here's a few ways to up your step game:
- Get on your woollies and walk to work! Or if your commute isn't walkable, park further away or get off the bus a couple of stops earlier.
- Arrange walking meetings.
- Track your steps with wearable technology or an app, you could hold a healthy competition and see who can do the most steps each week.
- Don't draft that email or dial that phone number, get up and talk to your colleagues if they're in your building.
- Use the stairs instead of the lift.
Top tip: To really feel the benefits for walking, walk at a pace that makes you breathe a little faster, feel warmer and slightly increases your heart rate.
Move more at work
Research has found that some employees spend between 5-8 hours per day sitting at desks which can be a huge health risk. Try getting up and moving away from your desk every hour, you could:
- Use the printer/kitchen at the other end of the office.
- Get out of your chair every 60 minutes to move and stretch. Even the slightest movement will increase blood circulation, bringing oxygen and vital nutrients to the body and mind.
- Sit less – have walking or standing meetings. If long meetings are unavoidable, have a 5 minute movement break every hour to stretch and move around. You'll be surprised how much more focused and attentive people will be afterwards!
Got no energy?
If you're shattered from work and planning for Christmas, the last thing you should do is exercise, right? Wrong! Exercising will give you more energy if you're feeling lethargic. If you're feeling drained from a stressful week, exercise can be a great way of relieving that build up tension.
Become a health hero
We all know someone who takes part in sport, an exercise class or another form of physical activity. Track them down and find out if anyone else wants to join in the activities. From joining a netball team or doing some lunchtime yoga, to creating a 5 a side football team, find out from colleagues if they'd be interested in starting up a new activity to get fit together.
Be the NEATest person in the office
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do that isn't sleeping, eating or exercising. It can be anything from walking to work, typing, housework and even fidgeting. Every movement you do burns calories, from picking up a cup of coffee to getting out of the chair. The more of these little movements you do a day means more calories are burned, metabolism is increased and this can lead to the body then using stored fat as energy. So make sure you get up and about in the office.
Did you know?
- Just 30 minutes of exercise 3 times a week a week can increase your serotonin levels, making you feel happier and healthier.
- Exercise can boost the immune system – that's why it's good to exercise regularly. Check out our Christmas survival guide on eating well to give your body the boost it needs over the festive period.
So what are you waiting for? Get you and your colleagues fit and ready to take Christmas and the New Year by storm. We can support you to make the smallest of changes with the biggest impact. Find out how we can get your staff's fitness journey into their working life getfit@WestfieldHealth.com