Have a happy Christmas AND stay fit

This is a good news story for a happy time of the year.

As we approach the festive season, our calendars start to fill with Christmas celebrations and extra time spent with friends and family.  Often, we enjoy food and drinks that are higher in energy and our exercise regime goes by the wayside.

It doesn’t have to be this way! We can still enjoy all the festivities while maintaining regular physical activity over the holidays.

Deliberately plan increased physical activity

If we’re eating and drinking more than usual, it becomes even more important to dedicate time to being physically active. This can be achieved in many different ways.  The warmer weather brings about great conditions for getting out in the garden or completing DIY projects.

Perhaps you like being by the water and can enjoy a spot of swimming, fishing, kayaking or walks along the beach or river. Bike riding, walking and other recreational activities can still be enjoyed during this time.

You just need to prioritise them like any other appointment.

Keep moving even when you’re waiting for the kettle

There are also opportunities for us to increase our incidental activity and this could be by “chore stacking”.

While you’re waiting for the kettle to boil each morning, you could be completing some wall push ups or calf raises.

You could space out your household tasks (ie, washing, vacuuming, dusting, window cleaning, mowing, gardening) across the week so you can be active on most days.  By making the conscious decision to be more physically active, you’ll be increasing your total steps per day and energy expenditure.

Exercise helps maintain BGLs

By maintaining a regular exercise regime, you’ll be able to manage your blood glucose levels (BGLs) more consistently, with fewer highs and lows.

Remember, if your blood glucose levels do go high (greater than 15mmol/L), you should refer to your sick day management plan or visit your GP as appropriate.

You might be required to check your blood glucose levels more frequently if they are consistently high, and maintain adequate hydration and regular eating patterns.

Top tips for staying active

Some other top tips for keeping active during the festive season include:

  • Increase your overall step count each day by scheduling in short bouts of exercise
  • Make social catch ups with friends and family active – take a stroll through the local Christmas market or have a picnic in the park
  • Unleash your inner child and partake in physical activities with your kids or grandchildren – perhaps using the new basketball or cricket set they received for Christmas
  • Make use of a quiet gym if you have a membership. Often December and January arethe quietest period
  • Try or learn something new such as yoga, tai chi or pilates

Wishing you all an active, healthy and safe Christmas and New Year!

By Hayley Nicholson,

Exercise Physiologist/Credentialled Diabetes Educator

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