Keeping fit and feeling good over the holidays

Keeping fit and feeling good over the holidays

The holidays can be a wonderful time for relaxation and indulgence. While these are needed, too much of a good thing can have an adverse effect on mood, energy level and health. Here, five members of King’s athletics community share their top tips for feeling good through the holidays and into 2021.

Athletics Director Neil Hooper

Here are my tips for staying fit during the holidays:

During this pandemic I have kept my workouts really simple and efficient. I do 45 minutes on an old home elliptical trainer, but I use an ‘old school hand grip’ to keep my upper body in shape as well. I rotate arm positions to

  • straight out in front
  • out wide
  • bent arm
  • and reach behind the neck.

This is done simultaneously with your elliptical training or stationary bike ride. I do as many sets of 50 repetitions as I can do over 45 minutes.

Hint: Check Marketplace on your phone if you are looking for one of these, most of them are sitting on a shelf gathering dust!

Now you might say, ‘I don’t have a bike or an elliptical at home.’ No problem, just use the handgrip on a walk or a run. You can also climb stairs at home and use the grips while climbing. Do not use it while riding your bicycle outdoors!

Happy Holidays Everyone! Stay fit and stay safe!

Neil H., a.k.a. Hoops!

Head Coach, King’s Women’s Rugby, Lysa McGrath

I realize that over the holidays it’s not always easy to stick to a routine with all the hustle and bustle. It’s also hard with the cold weather winter brings.

My one tip to help people from getting stiff and sore would be to take a few minutes in the morning to do some gentle stretching that will wake your body up and get it ready for the day. Try doing some ‘cat-cow stretch,’ ‘child’s pose,’ ‘thread the needle’ and ‘seated spinal twist.’

You can refer to this page on Pinterest to learn how to do each of these stretches.

Health and Performance Coach, and creator of the “Wednesday Workouts,” Thomas Kochanoff

The holidays are all about lots of down-time to relax, reset, eat and enjoy those close to you. To balance out all the sitting and ‘food comas,’ try these two drills to help with mind/body flow and to get yourself moving.

Holiday flow—UKC style

  1. Seated neck/trap isometric stretch with breath work to down-regulate:

Sit on a bench or a chair. Grab the edge of the bench or chair with one hand while lifting your other arm over your head, lightly holding your head on the opposite side (refer to the video for a demonstration). While you are creating this light tension, breathe in through your nose over four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds, then release your breath for four seconds, and finally pause again for four seconds. Repeat this four times for each side. Nasal breathing can help with stress reduction or your mind feeling ‘full.’

  1. Dive bomber pushups/flow

Refer to the video for the posture and movement, but keep in mind that everyone has different ranges of movement and limiting factors. While you’re going through the flow of this exercise, take note of where you feel tension (tight shoulders, tight hamstrings etc.) Breathe out as you dive down. Do 10–20 repetitions.

Yoga in the Gym Instructor Sandra Ryan

The holidays produce a wide range of emotions in all of us—from excitement to exhaustion, to sadness. The purpose of yoga is to find a balance by ‘yoking’ our body, mind and spirit.

Whenever you feel the need, take a ‘mindful moment’: feel your emotion; recognize it; explore where it is sitting in your body; breathe.

We too often try to run away from our emotions using whatever means are available. Once you feel present, lose the ‘drama’ your mind wants to create. Then you may either sit for a while longer, or let your body move into some stretching or other activity. Do what comes naturally to you!  This is YOGA.

Have a wonderful holiday full of awareness of the beauty around us.


Sandra Ryan

Registered Dietician and host of this fall’s online nutrition workshops Edie Shaw-Ewald

During the holidays, try to maintain a regular eating pattern of three meals/day as much as possible. When you are at a holiday get-together, enjoy your favourite treats but also remember how you want to feel the next day when it comes to deciding how much to eat and drink (especially alcohol).

Happy Holidays!!



Banner image by Dave Simpson

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