Keeping up with exercise over the holiday season

Health and Fitness
The Christmas party season is upon us again. The perfect time to socialise, eat and avoid responsibility for a few days. If your calendar is packed with catch-ups, events and parties, the temptation to put exercise off and make it your new year’s resolution instead is always there. But there is no better time than right now to start exercising. Even a 20-minute walk is better than nothing.

The first step is to look out for potential road blocks and work out how to navigate them.

  • Keep a set of exercise clothes and shoes in your car or pack them if you’re heading out of town. One of the biggest excuses I personally come up with is, “Oh well, I don’t have the right shoes with me… guess I can’t train”.
  • Exercise first thing in the morning before the day gets away from you, even if that means getting up just 20–30 minutes earlier. This is also good incentive to behave a little bit better the night before.
  • Rope a friend or family member into your program to hold you accountable.
  • Choose some short and sweet programs that give you as much bang for your buck as possible, if you are going to be doing home or gym routines. Choose high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class instead of something longer if you need to. In fact, research has shown high-intensity circuit training to be effective in maintaining insulin levels, decreasing body fat and improving muscular fitness.1
  • Get into the mindset in advance that a new year’s resolution to exercise shouldn’t be used to let you off the hook through the Christmas season.
  • Plan your exercise options in advance.

Exercise ideas

  • Possibly the biggest trick to use over Christmas, or during any period where you may not have much extra time, is incidental exercise. Organise functions outdoors, like picnics or walks in the park. This is great for catch-ups with other families. Participate in activities with the kids – they’ll be entertained and you’ll get some exercise, so win-win. Throw the ball, play hide and seek, or get into the backyard and play some cricket.
  • Round up everyone and go for a walk after your meal. It’s easy to sit around or watch TV after meals, but getting out into the fresh air and walking off that meal will leave you feeling a lot better. Just remember to apply sunscreen.
  • There are some pre-made exercise routines you can download to use or get apps for. One of the best and shortest for those who are time poor is the 7-minute workout. It uses only body-weight exercises and a few things you can find in the house, and can be done in just 7 minutes in your spare time.
  • Going away on a trip or to visit relatives? Check if your hotel has a gym you can use. Go online and research local walks in the area you’re visiting and its surrounds, and try to get in one or two. This is a wonderful way to both get some exercise and experience part of your destination that you might not have gotten to see.

There are many options for sneaking exercise into the holiday season. It will take some planning beforehand and schedules do change, so don’t be too hard on yourself – remember to stay away from the all or nothing mindset. Every little bit counts.


1. Klika B, Jordan C (2013) High-Intensity Circuit Training Using Body Weight: Maximum Results With Minimal Investment. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal May/June 2013, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 8-13

Header image: Unsplash/Natalya Zaritskaya

Dr Susan Tyfield
Susan Tyfield is an evidence-based chiropractor who utilises a wide range of treatment techniques and rehabilitation in her sessions. She has been practicing for over 13 years, having achieved board certification both in South Africa, where she had her own private practice, and in Australia, where she has practiced since 2011. She has special interests in sports and performing arts healthcare as well as chronic pain management. She practices out of Waterloo and Darlinghurst, Sydney NSW.

Related news

8 simple, practical ways to eat more veggies

Vegetables are the cornerstone of a healthy eating pattern. You simply cannot eat well without them. So here are eight simple and practical ways you can include more in your diet - that aren’t steaming or salad!

Read more

Are there better exercises for women and men?

In general, the size of a man’s heart is larger than a woman’s. So if you’re looking to take care of your heart health, are there better exercises depending on whether you’re male or female?
Read more

Tips to boost nutrition during pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the most nutritionally demanding stages of life for a woman. Decisions about health and nutrition at this point can significantly affect the lifelong health of both the mother and their baby. In the end, the goal of good pregnancy nutrition is to provide adequate nutrients that will promote optimum health in both.
Read more