From parties to picnics and beach holidays, there’s a lot of fun to be had at this time of year. There’s also a lot of great excuses to skip that work-out you usually wouldn’t dream of missing! Late nights, hectic holiday schedules, and the break in regular daily routines can make sticking to your healthy habits nearly impossible. But, it’s precisely at this busy time that keeping up your exercise and prioritising your health can be so important. Not only does exercise help your body combat the ill-effects of all those Christmas indulgences, but it also offers great stress relieving and mental health benefits.
Thankfully, you don’t have to be sweating it out at the gym for hours each day to get the benefits. Just 20-30mins of exercise each day is all it takes to relieve stress, keep those happy endorphins pumping, and avoid the post-holiday blues.
Reduced holiday hours at your gym or being away from home is no excuse – try a brisk walk or run, or download a yoga program you can take to the beach for an early morning stretch-sesh. Indoors more your thing? Try our easy 30min no-equipment workout below, perfect for getting your blood pumping in the privacy of your own home (or holiday home!)
Warm Up: five mins
Make sure to prepare your body by getting your heart pumping and muscles warmed up. Try jogging (or dancing!) on the spot for a minute, before focusing on loosening your joints. Circle your arms to loosen shoulders, stretch your hips by shifting your weight side-to-side, and rotate your head to stretch out your neck. Stand on one foot and then the other while circling your raised foot to warm-up those ankles, and finish with a few slow stretches down to your toes to loosen your lower back.
Home Workout Circuit: 20min (three to four sets, depending on your pace).
Complete the following circuit at your own pace, trying to rest only at the end (rather than between each move). Grab whatever household items you can find and use them as hand weights — like a shampoo bottle, tin of tomatoes, or milk bottle.
- 20 bodyweight squats
Stand feet just outside your shoulders with toes turned slightly outwards. Bend your knees and lower your body, keeping knees tracking over your toes, chest up and out, and your butt pushing out behind you. Breathe in as you lower, and out as you push back up to your starting position.
- 10 push ups
Do your push-ups on your toes, on your knees, or a bit of both – whatever works for you!
- 20 walking lunges – 10 each leg
Use bodyweight, or grab a weight for each hand. Begin by standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Step forward with one leg, bending through the knees and descending until your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Your posture should remain upright, and your front knee should stay above the front foot. Drive through the heel of your lead foot and straightened up through your legs to raise yourself back up. Then, step forward with your rear foot and repeat the lunge on the opposite leg.
- 10 dumbbell rows
Taking your hand weights, start with your feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent. Bend through your hips and knees and lower your torso to about 90 degrees to the floor, keeping your back straight and eye-line straight ahead. Let the weights hang at arm’s length from your shoulders. Pull your shoulders down and back and hold for a few seconds. Then, pull the weights up to the sides of your ribs, squeezing your shoulder blades up and inwards toward your spine. Pause and hold for a few seconds, then slowly lower the weights back to the starting position.
- 30 jumping jacks
An oldie but a goodie! Take these at your own pace but try to keep at continuous motion, rather than pausing between each movement.
Do your plank on your elbows and stretched out to your toes, or drop to your knees if you need to build your strength. Start with 15 seconds at a time, and increase to 30 seconds and up to a minute when you can.
Stretches: five mins
Finish with five minutes of gentle stretching to lengthen your muscles and let your body cool down.