The Best Exercises For Regaining Your Fitness After Christmas

The Best Exercises For Regaining Your Fitness After Christmas

21 March 2019

It's easy to fall off the fitness wagon during the festive season. After all, you have plenty of presents to wrap (and unwrap), wine to drink and Christmas pudding to tuck into. However, even if you had taken an enforced break from your fitness regime, getting back into the swing of things could prove tricky.

The good news is that, even after a particularly indulgent Christmas, you can regain your fitness. It just depends on you approaching the task in the right way, as this article will further explain...  

How will your body have changed over Christmas?

We’re all guilty of putting on some weight over the Christmas period, after all, Christmas is all about indulgence and enjoying great food. However, we're also referring to how your body's biological systems will have altered.

Exactly what changes will have taken effect will depend on your level of fitness before the break - and the exercises that had brought you to that fitness level.  However, your body's blood content is one of the likeliest things to have decreased, Lifehacker explains.

Another factor is how long you had kept up your fitness regime before taking the Yuletide break. If you had only recently started exercising before Christmas intervened, you might have to start again from scratch. You can bounce back more quickly if you had instead exercised for years.

What were your get-fit techniques before Christmas?

If you had previously gained your fitness through running, even just two weeks away from running will have left you with decreased "VO2max" - a measure of fitness in runners.

"Truth be told, cardio fitness starts to diminish slightly within 3 days," Michele Olson, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University, explained to Prevention. Still, she added that "it's also the fastest fitness parameter to regain relatively quickly."

If you have not exercised for at least a week, Olson suggests that you scale down the intensity of your previous workouts by 20% or more. "Do 10 to 15 minutes, grab some water, and add on another 5 to 10. Don't jump back in doing 30 minutes straight at your typical pace."

It is also advisable for your post-Christmas exercise regime to begin with a moderate cardio workout on three occasions weekly, leaving at least a day of rest between each session. You should also resistance train twice a week, giving your muscles a couple of days at a time to recover.

Tips for what you should and shouldn't do

For the time being, you might have to leave out some exercises to which you had previously been devoted. Avoid exercises involving excessive jumping, twisting and rapid movements until your previous levels of strength and cardio fitness have returned.  

Have you put on extra body weight over Christmas? That surplus fat will put pressure on your joints if you run, jump or pursue other high-impact activities. Low-impact exercises like swimming would be kinder to your joints. As your fitness improves, you could then consider taking part in one of our fitness bootcamps in London.