Have you ever joined a gym or sports club in January with all good intentions, only to have stopped going well before Easter?
Does this sound familiar?
Having worked in the Leisure Industry for all my working life, I have spent many years managing a gym facility. Typically, December was always seen as one of the quietest months of the year in terms of recruiting new members. This was never really seen as a big problem as just around the corner was the safety net that was New Year and the knowledge that many new members will be signing up during January and February. The new year months were always seen as ‘boom’ months, the busy period where we recruited the majority of our members for the remainder of the year.
With this in mind, I thought I would write a blog examining why we tend to have this idea to wait until the new year to make many of these resolutions, typically to get more active and to lose weight. Perhaps the main reason why people feel that they will wait until January to get more active is because they want to enjoy the festive period to its full, with lots of delicious food including chocolate, biscuits, cheese platters, roast turkey dinners with all of the trimmings, and of course the alcoholic drinks that only come out at Christmas. During the festive period there are lots of bank holidays in close proximity which often means more days off work and the cycle of eating and drinking lots of calorific food and drink, spent with friends and family.
Now I for one, would like to say now that personally I think it is important to enjoy all the things that I have listed above (all in moderation of course) without feeling guilty. I always really look forward to the festive period watching the children opening their presents and perhaps slightly overeating some lovely food and drink, which only comes around once a year.
I think that one of the ways that we can help ourselves to balance out the extra calories that we consume over the Christmas and New Year period is by trying to build some regular physical activity into our schedules. I am by no means suggesting that we all need to be training for marathons but building in some short walks, allocating some time to do some simple body weight exercises, or even doing some household chores, can be really effective ways to keep the exercise routine going.
Remember that any amount of exercise is beneficial for our health, although more is better. Even making the effort to do 10 minutes a day where you are slightly puffed out, is better than being sat down. Any amount of physical activity will increase your heart rate and breathing rate, increasing our metabolic rate, which will then force your body to burn more calories during your exertions and after you have finished. By keeping ourselves active during this period this will help us to counterbalance some of the excess calories that we will be consuming on the food and drink.
In summary, try to maintain some regular physical activity throughout the festive period, even if it is only for short periods. If you do this, I can guarantee that you will feel much better both physically and mentally. It will also mean that you will be maintaining a positive behaviour which might mean you don’t need to make as many resolutions to get active in the New Year. Importantly you will be able to enjoy your Christmas day turkey dinner, guilt free, even more! #movemore
Nigel Stephenson, Move More Lead
December 3, 2020