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The Silly Season

Health and Wellbeing - Dec 17/Jan 18

05 Dec 2017

Holiday activity planning

By Andrew Ward

Start with your fitness end in mind.

When you return from your well-earned holiday or Christmas break, do you want to be fitter, stronger and healthier than you are now? Or are you happy to stay the same?

Do want your weight and fitness levels to fluctuate, yo-yo or be seasonal? Do you want to be physically and mentally worse off when you return from your break? The choice is all yours. It sounds simple doesn’t it, but words are cheap – you need to commit and act!

Set some measurable, high-level goals and targets. Take the lead for your family or group of friends and set some achievable fitness milestones for each person individually or the group collectively.

“We will all run 100km in January” or “we will each walk 100,000 steps on this vacation” or “together we will walk five km every morning on this holiday”. You can use some wearable technology or activity trackers to monitor your individual or group progress. Maybe you received or gave your partner a Garmin, Suunto, Fitbit or Apple watch as a gift – now you can put it to good use!

Create some wellbeing “themes” for the holiday period. Link your themes to your personal or family needs. If you are feeling physically tired at the end of the year and working out or running doesn’t motivate you, maybe a “recharge” or “rejuvenate” theme would suit you better. In this case, you might turn your focus to improving your sleep quality and quantity, or look for some yoga and meditation opportunities. Even finding a quiet time each day to sit, breathe and clear your mind for 15-20 minutes would help.

Put something on paper. The chances of you sticking to your plan are slim unless you commit and put something down on paper – maybe get some signatures!

Healthy, happy Christmas – fitness tips

It is widely recommended that adults should exercise a minimum of 30 minutes per day, every day to maintain good health and to avoid excessive weight gain. This of course varies depending on the individual but is a good starting point.

What tends to happen over the Christmas is that regular exercise routines drop in priority, and are replaced by higher priority festive activities, like eating.

Here are five simple exercise tips to ensure you make it through Christmas without your fitness levels going backwards:

  • Increase energy expenditure in line with your food intake levels;
  • Get up early and run or work out first thing in the morning before breakfast;
  • Look for active adventures – hikes, swims, walks and rides;
  • Keep your sessions productive – look for moderate to high intensity with shorter duration so you have more time for the things you want to do; or
  • Lift some weights!

Healthy, happy Christmas – nutrition tips

Did you realise that the average Christmas lunch can be equal to, or in some cases double your daily nutritional requirements? And that’s just lunch!

Here are five simple nutritional tips to keep you on track during the festive season:

  • Do the numbers – get an idea on the number of calories you are consuming. This might help in holding yourself accountable for your food choices on the day! Then look at the expenditure numbers for 30 minutes of exercise. You will get a shock and this might help with your decision making;
  • Consider portion sizes. Maybe try something different … try grazing instead of gorging. Make Christmas lunch last all day with a series of tasty smaller and healthier courses and morsels, as opposed to the giant sized three-round meal;
  • Eat a little dessert. Depriving yourself will only increase your cravings which might lead to overconsumption later;
  • Avoid over consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has no nutritional value, and a lot of calories. It can also impact your ability to make sound decisions (around food intake!). Drink lots of water in place of alcohol; and
  • Where you can, get in early and influence the organiser of your Christmas party so everyone wins!


I would like to take this opportunity to wish all Docklanders a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy new year. Thanks to Sunny and Shane from Docklands News for hosting our articles this year and for the work they do building the Docklands community.

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