Health and fitness: Stay committed to your health ahead of the Christmas-New Year period

COMMIT: This year's Variety Xmas Walk Newcastle will be staged at Speers Point and offers a fun and accessible way to stay active through the festive season. Picture: Marina Neil
COMMIT: This year's Variety Xmas Walk Newcastle will be staged at Speers Point and offers a fun and accessible way to stay active through the festive season. Picture: Marina Neil

Last week I spoke about the impending arrival of summer and it possibly being enough to send you into panic mode.

It does not make things any easier that the festive season is also heading our way and sure to disrupt any kind of eating and fitness routine you might have established.

You might think it easier to wait until the new year and start again but my advice would be don’t.

Anything you do now will help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions so stay on task through an endless string of Christmas social events.

Here are five suggestions to help:

FAMILY FUN: Events like the Variety Xmas Walk get people of all ages moving while also raising funds for children in need. Picture: Marina Neil

FAMILY FUN: Events like the Variety Xmas Walk get people of all ages moving while also raising funds for children in need. Picture: Marina Neil

JOIN A GYM. Once you pay your money you are more likely to go to the gym and stay committed. Trainers can help you with a program and I always find it easier having someone else telling me what to do. It means you just have to get yourself there. But before you commit to a gym, shop around and see what deals are being offered for summer.

ENTER AN EVENT. I have said many times that entering an event can be extremely motivating and the good news is there are plenty coming up before and after Christmas. It might be a triathlon, a running event or getting the whole family moving by taking part in the Variety Xmas Walk at Speers Point next month. It raises funds for children in need and would also make a good workplace Christmas event.

ENLIST A FRIEND. Everyone needs that one person in the group who constantly tags them in posts about upcoming fitness challenges, putting it out on social media so you can’t really reject the proposal. I have one who tags me in something on a weekly basis. But it generally works and keeps me motivated.  Committing to meet someone else could be the deciding factor when the alarm goes off in the morning and training with others has social benefits as well as physical ones.

SET A GOAL. Cost can stop you from joining the gym or entering an event and money might be even tighter this time of year with Christmas or a holiday approaching. Your health is a good investment but you don't have to necessarily enter an event. Just set a date and set your goal. It might be to walk or run five or 10km without having to stop. It might be something totally different.

SAY NO. It's easy to overcommit yourself at this time of year but it is also easy to wear yourself out. The result may be that you are so tired by the time the new year gets here that the last thing you feel like doing is springing out of bed to start your 2018 health goals. Look after yourself by making sure you are eating well and getting plenty of rest.

SPRING TIPS

Peter Mullen of Mullen Natural Health Centre is offering healthy food tips for spring and this week he suggests some ways to help sleep better in what can be a pretty hectic time of year. He says creating a healthy sleep routine, avoiding caffeine after midday and keeping the room cool can all help give you a better night of sleep.

Spring loaded week #10

There is just over three weeks of spring left and eight weeks until the new year. 

Keep moving now to help achieve your 2018 health and fitness goals. 

Here is a 30-minute workout incorporating legs, arms and cardio. Add a warm-up and cool-down.

Part 1: 10min x [10 squats, 10 squat jumps, 10 dead lifts, 10 lateral leg raises, 10 lunges, 20 mountain climbers]

Part 2: 10min x [10 push-ups, 10 pull-ups/rows, 10 shoulder press- biceps curls, 10 triceps extension, 10 ab rotation with weights]

Part 3: 10min x intervals. 30 seconds harder, 30sec easier.

Upcoming fitness events

Round 1 of Summer Run Series, November 12, Morpeth: A new three-round 10km series in the Hunter region starts on Sunday and should provide motivation to keep training through the festive season. summerrun.com.au.

XRACE, November 17, Stockton: XRACE is a family adventure race comprising 10 mystery challenges along the way. xrace.com.au/03-newcastle.

Variety Xmas Walk Newcastle, December 10, Speers Point Park: A good excuse to get the family, workplace or group of friends outdoors and moving as Christmas-New Year approaches. variety.org.au.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three. r.valentine@fairfaxmedia.com.au.