Top Tips - making time to exercise over the festive period
When your diary is filling with parties and meeting up with family and friends, it's hard to find time to maintain your Winter exercise regime. This week Marios shares his 5 top tips for making time to exercise over the festive period.
Even for the most dedicated fitness fans, finding time to get sessions into the schedule a few times a week can be hard. Between our work lives, home lives and social lives, it can feel like there is just not time left for working out. Especially now, right in the middle of the festive season, where there are Christmas parties, Christmas shopping to be done and in between catching up with friends, finding that workout time can be even more of a struggle!
However, as exercise can help you to feel more energetic, more confident, reduce your risk of certain diseases and make you feel happier, it really is worth making the time for.
If you want to make sure you don’t skip your next training session, here are a few tips for fitting fitness into your day.
Combine it with something fun
Working out sometimes feels like a chore at the best of times, and it’s even tougher to prioritise amongst all the festive celebrations going on. One tip is to try combining it with something fun to make a trip to the gym seem more tempting. Research has shown that loading your mp3 player with audio books that you only let yourself listen to in the gym can boost attendance by as much as 50%. Now that it's Christmas time, it’s a great excuse to bring out all those Christmas songs on your Spotify… “All I want for Christmas is yoooOOou.” Anyone?
Go with a friend
If you’re trying to choose between a visit to the gym and an evening with a friend, why not combine the two and workout together?
A lot of gyms provide guests passes for members, so you can bring your friend along for free or at a reduced rate. You never know, if they like the experience, you may even get yourself a permanent workout buddy. With the New Year coming up, find out if any of your friends or family members are thinking of joining a gym and then you can set out to become members of the same one.
It is also a great opportunity to start something new altogether. Consider starting a new sport with a friend, a new exercise class or how about indoor climbing?
If family commitments are a barrier to you making enough time to exercise consider exercising with your family over the festive period. A brisk walk on Boxing Day or a day at the swimming pool with a family member can be great fun and a refreshing new way to spend your time together.
Keep it short
If time really is of the essence, you can keep gym visits short and sweet using the interval training method. More intense than normal workouts, interval training can help you to achieve great results by exercising in short, high energy bursts. This is especially great when you’ve only got an hour for lunch, giving you an opportunity to head to the gym, get changed, workout, shower and head back.
It may not sound like the most tempting option, especially in December and January time, when it’s pretty cold. Nonetheless, getting out of bed earlier is a good way to make the day that little bit longer, so you can squeeze in that short run or gym session. To make this easier, consider getting into the habit of getting into bed earlier, to avoid losing any important sleep time.
Get a personal trainer
Definite appointments, especially appointments you’ve paid for, are always easier to keep than vague personal timetables. Hiring a qualified Personal Trainer is a fantastic way to ensure you always hit the gym when you say you’re going to. What’s more, as a personal trainer knows exactly what they’re doing, they’ll be able to help you to get the most out of your workout and your time in the gym.
Pay yourself per visit
According to research another good method to increase gym attendance is to pay yourself per visit. At the beginning of each month, decide how many times you’re going to hit the gym and pay yourself per visit, placing the money in a piggy bank or in the hands of a trusted friend at the start of the month.
For every visit you make, you get to keep the money, but for every visit you skip, the funds go straight to charity. This method has proved to be very successful over time, with participants in one study keeping up a good level of gym attendance three years after the experiment. After a few months of regular gym going, you’ll find it easier and easier to make time to work out. Once exercise is fully ingrained into your daily routine, you’ll find hitting the gym easier than ever.
Though often a more challenging period of the year to make enough time to dedicate to your health and fitness, it can be done, and you’ll be thanking yourself when January comes by, that you got ahead and still had plenty of fun on the way.