Friday, December 19, 2014

Staying Active Over The Holidays

I'm back on track! Two days in a row. Today I'm going to talk about a few tips for staying fit and active over the holidays. I haven't always done this well, but I also know the importance of taking some time off. The problem with the holidays is that most people eat and drink a lot of crap and don't get any exercise. I've been guilty of this in the past and am going to try and do a better job this time around.

Yesterday I went over to the gym and did some strength training. When I was at the gym I found out they have a deal for the rest of the month for $26. I was about to pay $13 for a single visit, so I signed up for the month and plan to get my money's worth! I'm sure many gyms and squash clubs have something similar to this for the month of December. The gym isn't as busy this time of year as people have Christmas parties, are busy shopping and going out for dinners. The tricky part is that unless you're a member at a key club, many gyms and squash clubs are closed around the holidays. I don't like taking 2 or 3 days off from exercising in a row. Back in Victoria I have a gym in my building, but I'm in Ontario and will have to find other ways to get some exercise. If you have a home gym or it's warm outside you can at least do something. This is about maintaining some balance in your life. Especially if you are going to be eating a lot of junk food, make time to get some exercise in.

I find many people do absolutely nothing for a week and really enjoy it. They don't feel guilty because that's what they are supposed to be doing during the holidays as you catch up with friends and family. My brother plays squash and is pretty active so I have someone to go and work out with. Having a workout partner and someone to get you going is always nice, but even more so this time of year.

The last thing most people want to do when they have been up late at a party is to go to the gym the next day. Maybe for one of your Christmas presents you should ask or buy some home gym equipment. When I was a kid I had a treadmill, a stationary bike, a chin-up bar and a multi-faceted exercise weight machine. You can also do a lot with just a mat.

I know New Years is a time when many people are motivated to get back in shape because they've had a lapse over the holidays. This is where gyms make big money. If being healthy and active is a part of your regular daily life you won't need to make a resolution that will eventually fail anyways. Nobody is going to keep doing something they don't enjoy. If you are active and eat well you will feel so much better that you won't want to be sedentary and eat a lot of junk food. Plus if you are an active and healthy person indulging a bit over the holidays won't be too bad for you. If you stay active and still have healthy meals a few snacks in between won't do much harm. If however you eat and drink a lot and you are normally healthy and active you may not have the energy (the fuel) to go out and be active during the break.

There are always a number of squash tournaments early in January so if you eat well and stay active over the holidays you will be ahead of most of the field. If you do nothing for a couple of weeks you will have a pretty big lapse in your fitness. This goes back to the New Years resolution talk. I know when I was younger I always worried about how to maintain my fitness routines and levels year round. To play squash at a high level you need to be very fit all year round. Some people like to stagger their training so they always have say 1 strength training routine every week. Others like to focus on specific fitness attributes for a certain number of weeks or months. For example, you may want to work on your aerobic fitness by doing spinning or running 2 or 3 times per week. You wouldn't need to keep up this frequency all year round. So certain fitness levels will slightly drop throughout the year as you concentrate on others as they increase. This is why you pick and choose what you want to peak for and what your physical strength and weaknesses are. Right, so how does this have anything to do with this post? Well staying somewhat active over the holidays will help keep up your overall fitness, regardless of the intensity; something is better than nothing and even if your goal is to maintain your current level you're doing great. It's okay to have a slight dip, if you stay relatively active you can pick things up again pretty quickly. If you are inactive and unhealthy it will take much longer.

That's it for today. I'm going to go to the gym now and ride the bike for half an hour. I hope all of you stay active and have a few healthy meals between your holiday snacking. Don't get me wrong, the holidays are a nice time for a break, but try and make some time for exercising. Do you have any strategies for staying active and healthy over the holidays? Do you make New Years resolutions? If you want to share any that have to do with squash, heathy or fitness let me know.

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