6 Workouts To Keep You Sane These Holidays!

Remember: doing something, fitness-wise, is better than doing nothing.

Jenny Hadfield |

Amid the chaos of parties, family and over-indulgence it’s easy to lose your way in the festive season. The good news is you’re not alone. Many of us struggle to maintain our training and activity through the busy holidays. The better news is there are several shortcuts that will bridge the gap in your running workouts and maintain your momentum through the New Year.

The key is to focus on consistency rather than perfection. You may not get in exactly what is planned or wanted, but it’s more important to get in something, rather than nothing. When you line up a row of dominos, you can effectively knock them all down by tapping the first domino in line if they are spaced close enough to each other. If there is too much space between two dominos the momentum is lost.

Fitness and running is all about maintaining your momentum. If there is too much time that goes by without a workout (three to four days), you begin to lose fitness and your habit of activity.

Use these shortcuts when the holidays get in the way of your regular routine.

Run one Kilometre

One kilometre is better than none, right? If time is not on your side, suit up and run a micro-version of your run. You’ll clear your mind, burn a few kilojoules, and most importantly, keep the dominos falling. If you can’t run a km, strap on your shoes and walk at lunch, at the airport or while shopping. A kilometre is a kilometre. It still counts.

RELATED: Walks Breaks Can Make You Faster!

Try a 25-minute tempo

Just because you can’t get in your full tempo-run doesn’t mean you can’t get that runner’s high. Use this shortened 25-minute tempo workout to ward off your inner Grinch: Warm up with three minutes of walking. Run easy for five minutes. Run 15 minutes at an effort that’s just outside your comfort zone (you can hear your breathing and can’t speak easily). Walk two minutes to cool down.

RELATED:The Difference Between Fartlek, Tempo and Interval Runs

Increase calorie burn with a 25-minute interval workout

Boost your metabolism for hours post-run with this workout. This one is so much fun, you may keep running it all year long! Be mindful: a little high intensity interval training (HIIT) goes a long way. It’s best to run this no more than once per week if you’re new to HIIT- workouts, or twice, with a few days in between, if you regularly run these. Warm up with a two-minute walk – start with an easy effort and build to a brisk pace just slower than a jog.

Then, run at an easy effort for five minutes to continue your warm-up. Run at a sprint effort (hard) for 30 seconds and recover with 90 seconds of very easy jogging or brisk walking – that’s one rep. Do eight total reps before walking two minutes to cool down.

Shorten your strength workout

Instead of trying to squeeze in a lot of strength exercises, choose four or five exercises and perform time-saving, muscle-fatiguing supersets instead. By definition, a superset is a technique where you perform two exercises in a row with next to no rest in between.

In essence, you gain a lot in a shorter period of time. Here is an example of a superset strength routine – perform eight to 12 reps of each exercise, however many will cause your muscles to fatigue. You can adjust the number of sets based on the amount of time you have.

Push and pull = Chest press or push-up followed by row or lat pull
Squat and curl = Squat and leg curl on a ball
Press and hold = Arm curl and shoulder press + planks

Drop the cool down
Even though the cool down process is important – it helps the body return to its resting state – you can do it on the way to the shower. Walk for a couple of minutes to lower your heart rate and finish with stretching in the shower.

If all else fails, take the stairs

If all else fails and you don’t get in a workout, seek out activity in your everyday life. Recently I was hosting an all-day meeting at an airport. I found twenty minutes and used it to go up and down a single flight of stairs. I got my heart rate up, moved enough for it to count and felt better for doing so.

Surviving the busy holiday season can be done with ease if you get in your regularly scheduled workouts when you have the time and plug in shortcut workouts when you don’t. Happy holidays!!!

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