How to stay in shape over the winter holidays

Picture: iStock

Picture: iStock

Following an exercise routine on holiday is generally tricky, especially if you’re not training for a sporting event.

Some of us choose to take our leave in winter and travel to warmer destinations; others stay home.

This can mean a lot of eating and slumping on the couch, away from our typical daily routines. Many of us are also away from our usual surroundings, travelling with friends or family.

Heavy winter meals and activities easily tempt us to slack off on healthy eating and regular exercise – and that’s human nature.

That’s why I’m here to give you some tips on how to survive the chilly season, without taking yourself back a couple of steps and making the first few months of spring hard.

Eat smart

If you’ve decided to go on a summer holiday overseas, it’s inevitable there will be lots of food, dessert and beverages available to you, whether or not you’ve planned for them.

Picture: iStock

My first tip is, when it comes to food, opt for lean cuts of meat and grilled vegetables or salads as your side.

Listen to your stomach and eat based on how hungry you are. When you are feeling full, stop immediately.

Avoid eating with your eyes. Yes, food looks good but you don’t need to overly decorate your plate or build mountains.

Stay hydrated

My second tip is, if you’re going to a country like the US, which is presently experiencing summer, drink lots of water to keep hydrated. It will also help you with digestion.

Drink it before, during and after your other choice of beverage. It will help flush your system, as many drinks are packed with sugar and, therefore, calories.

Many people attend international festivals and don’t stay hydrated while in party mode.

Picture: iStock

Keep active

My third tip relates to exercise. Following a structured programme during your vacation is typically tricky, especially if you’re not training for a specific sporting event.

At this time of year, you find that the focused people are Cape Epic cyclists and Ironman 70.3 athletes. Everyone else is taking a winter break or bulking up by eating more.

This is when I suggest active rest. This simply means keeping active in a smart way as a form of maintenance. For example, if your holiday break is at the coast, try a sunrise or sunset walk or light jog on the beach.

Image result for marche dans le sable

Picture: iStock

If you are at a place that is not friendly to outdoor training, take a skipping rope with you and create a short functional training routine that includes skipping, squats, push-ups, lunges, triceps dips on a chair and even step-ups on the same chair.

Repeat these exercises for 15 minutes for a full body workout.

You can also do smaller things like parking far from the shopping centre entrance and walking. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes to entice you to walk further.

A dip in the pool with the kids is also a fun way to keep active; also running around outdoors with the kids is great exercise.

Zulu is a qualified biokineticist and co-founder of PopUpGym. Follow her on Instagram: @letshego.zulu Twitter: @letshegom. Facebook: Letshego Zulu

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