What is the bare minimum of exercise you should be doing until NYE?

Even those of us who are avid fitness fans are struggling right now. Gyms feel precarious with the Omicron variant that knocks people left, right, and center. Running, if you are already mentally and physically exhausted, it is a bit too much and if you have every intention of staying at home and you have very little room, you may not want to install a multi-station circuit in your living room.

But we know movement is needed. Not only does exercise have the power to improve mood, it is also necessary for physical health, especially if you are always working out and sitting in front of a laptop nine hours a day.

All things considered, we know we need to do some sort of fitness by the New Year but the question is: what’s the bare minimum we should be aiming for, in terms of fitness, before January?

This might sound a little strange, coming from a fitness editor. After all, it’s my job to encourage people to build strength and exercise as much as possible. But let’s face it: we’re in survival mode right now. Movement can be a cure for melancholy, if you take the right dose.

“The bare minimum should line up with whatever else you have to do between now and the New Year,” says Peloton Tread instructor and trainer Joslyn Thompson Rule. “If you are extremely busy, then an exercise to counteract the restlessness would be great, like a walk, yoga, or meditation – something that lets you shut down for a minute.

“If time is of the essence, shorter workouts are ideal to keep movement in your day / week; your schedule is likely to be different than usual at this time of year, and your workouts should adjust accordingly as well.

This is a usual year, so take this into account in your diet.

“Given the year or years we’ve had, it’s critical that you don’t set unrealistic and unachievable expectations for yourself,” says SWTC trainer Dottie Fildes. “Getting him down to more manageable goals will be the key to success. “

Normally at this time of year we are busy navigating a ridiculous number of office Christmas parties, drinks with friends, dinners with roommates, and visitors with family. We may not have full agendas anymore, but for some reason December is still very intense right now – and that can mean exercise is being abandoned.

Fildes recommends continuing to try and adjust to small amounts of movement every day. “Gather the troops for a family walk; take nieces and nephews to the local park playground. These are easy ways to keep the family entertained and catch up on the process.

“There is also a lot to be said about step count and your ‘NEAT’ (thermogenesis without physical activity). It is the movement that you do without technically calling it “exercise”. This could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator, getting off the bus one stop earlier, or choosing to walk or cycle to the shops instead of taking the car.

The point, says Fildes, is that we have to keep moving forward. “I understand 100%. It’s cold, gray and the world seems extremely uncertain at the moment. It’s barely yelling, “get out there and be active,” but deep down you know you’ll almost always feel better for it. “

How to stay active during the holiday season

Five minute rule

“I swear by the five-minute rule,” says Fildes. “On days when motivation is a bit low, give it five minutes. If after that you are still not in it, stop and get on with your day. More often than not, by the time you’re gone, you feel like carrying on.

Catch a mate

Stuck at home after testing positive? Why not take your roommates for a Yoga situation with Adriene? “Knowing that someone else in your support group is moving will inspire you to do the same,” says Thomson Rule. “The hardest part is getting started, once you’re in, you’re there!

Take it easy

Perhaps the most important thing is to tune in to what your body is asking for. If you’re tired, why not light the candles, grab your pillows and blanket, and get comfortable for a blissful hour of yin yoga?

Set a no-exercise goal

A morning run always makes me feel better, even if it’s difficult at that time. However, if you can’t cope with the prospect of running, sometimes it’s worth setting goals other than time / distance for yourself. Pick a juicy podcast and vow to stay outside for as long as the podcast lasts, or head out after dark with the intention of counting as many Christmas houses on your itinerary as possible.

Want to move but don’t have the energy for a good old workout? Try one of our 15 minute mobility workouts at the Strong Women Training Club.

Images: Getty

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About Shirley A. Tamayo

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