Festive Fitness.

Wilderness Beach in the Garden Route.

Wilderness Beach in the Garden Route.

As I’m writing this, the holiday spirit is getting hold of me too after our lazy afternoon at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival.  This chilled feeling is trying its best to kick start my migration to holiday slothdom.  So right now, I’m putting the spotlight on how to stay active and not become a lazybones this December.

The key to remaining (or becoming) active lies in goal setting.  Your chosen goals have to be very clear and do-able, especially this time of the year. Record your goals:  put pen-to-paper or finger-to-keyboard / touch-screen, right now during the first few days of December.  Stick to your plan with an iron will, the more you achieve before the festivities really get going, the more likely it is that the momentum will carry you through to January.

Lower slopes of Lion's Head, Cape Town.

Lower slopes of Lion’s Head, Cape Town.

Here are my easy to follow tips for setting active goals:

  • schedule two races and include a realistic training plan for each: choose a race just before the start of your holiday and the next one as early as possible in January;
  • if races seem overwhelming, simply revert to pre-planning daily  activities:  think day hikes with a picnic stop, brisk beach walks followed by a swim, bicycle rides and family events like fun runs;
  • play more: at the beach go for bat & ball / volley ball / frisbee, at home give lawn cricket with the kids a bash, at the park slot in with group activities like touch rugby or soccer;
  • move as much as possible:  walk to your local store or restaurant, park your car at the far end of parking lots, take the dogs for sunrise and sunset walks, invite a family member or friend along and use it as an opportunity to really catch up;
  • if weather interferes with outdoor activities:  check out your local gym, yoga or Pilates studio’s fun holiday classes if you’re bored by your usual routine, even shopaholics can choose to clock up an extra few miles doing window shopping;
  • design your own 15 minute power home workout, repeat and get to 30 minutes:  choose between lower impact exercises or a more challenging routine, I’m thinking push-ups, lunges, squats, step-ups, plank…there are endless options that can be done at home without equipment;
  • anything is better than nothing:  short bouts of exercise improve circulation and mood and without a doubt outweighs the option of no exercise, you could even split a longer workout into a shorter morning and evening session;
  • select gifts that are activity magnets, off the cuff I’m thinking:  heart rate monitor / GPS watches, pedometers, running or swimming mp3 music players, hydration packs, socks / shorts / tights / tops / caps / buffs, exercises dvd’s…the options are endless and there is something for every budget, age and level of fitness;
  • exercise first thing in the morning and enjoy the sense of accomplishment all day; I believe early is best, distractions are at a minimum and you’ll experience your holiday surrounds before the day’s flurry starts.

I’ve set my goals for December.  It includes a four day mountain bike training adventure with my client Alex in the Western Cape towns of Robertson, Greyton and Botrivier.  As well as one (maybe two) trail-run-mountain-bike-duathlon with my friend Niel in the magical Garden Route.

photo credit:  behappy.me

photo credit: behappy.me

Happy festive planning, let me know your comments and tips on staying active here!

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