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Keeping motivated over the festive season

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Staying motivated to exercise over winter can be hard enough at the best of times, but the festive season takes self-motivation to the next level. Not only do you have the long nights with relentless dark mornings and evenings to play with, but there is also the added “issue” of parties, family commitments, rich and continuous amounts of food and a drink or three for some – not to mention the lure of the sofa in front of a log fire. For those who enjoy the routine of regular exercise, the Christmas break can feel a little daunting when trying to plan in some exercise. In this blog, we’re going to look at a few ways to keep yourself motivated over the Christmas break without compromising your fitness levels aimed at those facing a Christmas of juggling everything and everyone.


Cyclists dressed as Santa Claus
Photo credit from Ninja Cycling

Be realistic and flexible

This is key. If you have a lot of commitments over Christmas, then being unrealistic about your fitness goals will only lead to disappointment. Fitting in a 4-hour ride, entertaining kids, and seeing relatives all on the same day, is just never going to happen. Instead, think about shorter and more intensive workouts that can be done first thing in the morning before your commitments start for the day. That way, you’re working on your fitness, giving yourself a short bit of headspace before the day ahead. Plus, you can enjoy breakfast with the family with all the smugness you deserve. Remaining flexible here is key – some days it may not just work out, so be prepared for this, and try to take it in your stride.

Plan Ahead

By looking ahead at your festive demands, you can plan your exercise into the schedule. Perhaps you’re travelling 20 miles to see some family – could you cycle there and get someone to drive you home for example. Are there days that you could work some exercise into the daily excursion; perhaps you could run to the festive walk and join everyone there. Planning will give you the best opportunity available to succeed.

Involve your family and friends

In the spirit of being festively flexible, perhaps you could involve family and friends in your workouts. Unless your family all enjoy a group-ride or hitting the trails together (in which case, well done you!), appreciate that for a week or so, switching up your usual exercise routine with something family friendly can be surprisingly fun and all the while, letting your body have a hit of the exercise inducing endorphins. Whether that’s a kick around with a football in the park, group yoga in front of the TV, or sneaking off for a festive themed park run with anyone who’ll come with you – whatever you choose, you will all benefit from choosing to move together whenever possible.

Santa Claus high five
Photo Credit: Hogmoor Enclosure Christmas Junior Park Run

Take a break

Be kind to yourself and remember that it also ok to just take a few days off. No one is going to judge you after Christmas and ask how many kms you rode or how many fitness sessions you did. Rest is vital and so why not build in the Christmas week as a rest week where you are able to let your body recover, and take any movement as a win, such as a nice walk with friends and family or even a boxing day swim in the sea!

Most importantly, be kind; to yourself, and kind to others. Some days may allow a nice spin on your bike and go as planned, and others may not. Remember that the festive season is only temporary; taking the time to spend it with friends and family is priceless. If you can be organised and fit in some shorter bouts of exercise along the way, reward yourself but be flexible with your expectations if this is not possible. And remember, in January you’re still highly likely to be considerably healthier and fitter than most people and taking few days off never harmed anyone.








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