One might think the surest way to combat holiday stress AND extra consumed calories, is to give 110% to their workouts. In theory, this is very logical and would work wonderfully. In reality, due to the added stresses (good and bad) and distractions that this time of year brings , working out too intensely may very well lead to injury. Now, more than ever, we need to stay in the moment in order to complete our exercise sessions in a safe and effective manor.
Back in September of this year, I was walking from my car to my first class of the day. With an extremely busy day ahead, I knew I was preoccupied before I even left my house. The little voice in my head suggested I skip my first class and start my day a little later but feeling badly about my students arriving to find no class, I pushed myself. Thinking, talking to someone else and feeling the pressure of the day ahead, I stepped up on the sidewalk, looking in a different direction and ended up slipping in a pile of mud and tearing my hamstring. The second it happened I was reminded of a saying a learned in my Pilates training (and use often when teaching)—our body goes where our eyes go. Had I been looking in front of me, I would have noticed the pile of mud and easily avoided it. Instead, I let the distractions get the best of me and ended up on my butt, in great pain and out of the work and workout loop for a while. There were several morals to that story. One was to practice what I preach and a second was to listen to the little voice inside my head!
Often times when we are stressed we look to blow off steam during our workouts. If we start out too strong we set ourselves up for failure as our endurance dwindles before we have completed the session. If you are out running, you need to be able to maintain proper form to avoid injury and proper attention to avoid obstacles on the road such as cracks, rocks or potholes. Cyclists need to be even more careful this time of year as drivers are overly distracted, trying to find store locations, while wondering how they will pay for the gifts to go under the tree. Kickboxers may want to punch and kick harder than usual in an effort to de-stress, but stress naturally lowers our immune system and makes us more prone to injury, so again, finding balance is paramount!
So during this festive yet stressful time of year, certainly do try to keep up with your fitness routine. Both exercise and routine do help to keep us feeling in control of our lives. A great way to stay healthy, fit and sane this holiday season is to stay in the moment. This will allow you to get through the next 5 weeks and still maintain peaceandfitness.