December is here and that means one thing: Christmas holidays. Assignments are finally done – minus exams. Netflix playing: time to feast. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to sit back, relax and not move a muscle until they remember they have exams and the annual panic begins. However maybe this year is the year to focus on staying active through this festive time to avoid the stress and anxiety that is bound to happen come January as we all realise that we’re going to have to get back to normality. With no ski trip planned for the Christmas holidays, we are going to have to look someplace else to get our fresh air fix. Here are seven ways that you can stay active over the Chritsmas holidays. Start small and aim for one, as even that will help!
If there’s one thing we have in abundance in Dublin, aside from pubs, is a huge amount of beautiful trails for hiking, running, walking, or cycling with the family. While swapping a chilled couch day watching Netflix and eating chocolate for a fresh brisk walk in the cold may not sound that appetising after the fourth day of a Christmas movie marathon, a walk outside will do wonders for your health and also your mood. For those of you who don’t fancy panting up the side of a hill, walks such as the Howth walk or the Dodder walk are brilliant and scenic along with a number of coffee shops for that cheeky half-way latte. For the more adventurous of you, the Dublin Mountains provide a brilliant area for scenic views over Dublin as well as leafy forests and picnic spots. Try out the beginning of the Dublin way in Shankill and hike through Rathmichael woods up to the lead mines and over to Carrickgolligan to gorgeous panoramic views of Dublin and Wicklow. Try Ticknock for a number of trails that lead to the fairy fort or up to the viewpoint over Dublin.
One thing we can all take away from Movember, or Coldvember, is that swimming in the sea during the winter is actually not as bad as it may sound. During November there was a huge increase in the amount of people taking the plunge in aid of men’s mental health and judging by the amount of dry robes purchased in the name of warmth, it looks like it’s a trend that is here to stay. While freezing yourself is not everyones cup of tea, there are a large number of health benefits associated with it ranging from reducing stress to improving your circulation. For the sporty ones among you it can be great for sore muscles by increasing blood flow and reducing inflammation leading to a speedy recovery. Always make sure you are safe while participating in an activity like this. Acclimatise to the water so that shock can be avoided and never go alone. So text a friend over the Christmas period and head off for a dip!
Classes with Trinity Sport
Over the first lockdown many of you mastered the art of the online fitness class. Whether that was jump squats in your kitchen or burpees in the garden there was a large uptake in the number of people participating in these online classes. Gyms were closed and it became much easier to take part in fitness. It could conveniently be done from the home instead of at the gym and provided a way for people that led particularly hectic lives to no longer skip the gym. Lockdown provided a time whereby we could spend time looking sweaty and ungainly without fear of judgement. In response to this rise, Trinity Sport has released Trinity Sport+; an online platform of fitness classes both live and on demand online with hundreds of videos for all your fitness needs. With very simple registration and the possibility of paying for more live stream classes, it’s Trinity’s response to the increased demand for online classes so why not try out Zumba or an abs workout. Be sure to give this one a look over!
[/pullquote]“We sometimes underestimate the health benefits of walking and forget that even the smallest bit of exercise can be beneficial.”
For many Christmas is a time of high stress and worry as presents must be bought, food organised and trees decorated. Sometimes just taking a minute to sit and breathe is needed and what better way to do this then through yoga. There is a huge volume of free yoga classes on YouTube ranging from beginners to master that can help to relax and focus the mind. It can also be a great way to get the body moving and circulation flowing. Try out five parks yoga for a no frills session or Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube for a number of targeted classes including ones for your mood. There’s no better time to take a look inwards and reflect on what has undoubtedly been a crazy year.
Ditch the Car
We are all guilty of driving the 200m down the road to the local shop instead of just walking. I know I certainly have done that a number of times. We sometimes underestimate the health benefits of walking and forget that even the smallest bit of exercise can be beneficial. Even something as small as walking to the shop helps improve your health. This Christmas try to ditch the car, stick in some headphones and get those steps in.
Many people find the Christmas period a difficult time to manage their expectations around eating and enjoying food. It is everywhere in mainstream media that we must counteract the “damage” we do over the Christmas period by joining gyms and making mad new year’s resolutions to work out like crazy and start working on the summer body we all so crave. The stress surrounding just enjoying your meal time this year is also heightened by having exams after Christmas whereby we will naturally be spending more time sitting down at desks. It’s important to remember that Christmas is a time for people to come together and spend time with their family, friends, or loved ones eating, drinking and being merry. Enjoy your Christmas dinner. Stuff yourself full of turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, whatever there is at your dinner table, and savour it.
Above all stay safe this Christmas time and be sure to check in on family and friends alike to see how they are getting on over this stressful year. Happy Christmas!