Fitness Holiday by Kirsten Alexander

Choosing a holiday with an  opportunity to be active will boost your fitness and leave you feeling restored and alive
While most people's vision of the festive season is peppered with overindulgence and lazy days on a couch or hammock, there's a movement towards, well, movement. Fitcations (fitness vacations) are increasing in popularity and while you may think the December break should be all about relaxation; science has proven that movement can noticeably reduce stress levels. More and more people are booking holidays that involve a lot of hiking, cycling or even yoga. As the world becomes more away of the importance of ongoing healthy living, there is a demand for holidays that involve more than a sun-drenched lounger. HOME HOLIDAY If you haven't booked for a holiday that'll offer hours of hiking or an advanced exercise programme, you can still have a fitcation. Ditch the traditions and fit some fitness into your December break. This doesn't mean you need to get the entire family to run a marathon. We've come up with a few ways to add more exercise to your family time. '       Picnic. Great weather means staying indoors to eat a heavy meal isn't necessary. There's no need to tie yourself to a hot oven just for tradition's sake. Why not make each festive meal an opportunity to get outside and into nature. Parcel up the traditional festive fare into cold cuts and walk a couple of kilometres to one of the many beauty spots you have access to. It'll give everyone a chance to walk and be in nature. Rent bicycles for the whole family and find a trail everyone can do. '       Games. Get rid of all screens and electronic devices (except the hi-fi) and let the games begin. Numerous fun family games are active and fun-filled. Get out your old twister set and set a challenge. Mini cricket can get the whole family involved, and even gran can participate as umpire. In fact, just about any game involving a ball can be played with the whole family. Start a tradition of a pre- or post lunch game. The losing team can wash the dishes. Frisbee and bat and ball are also good options. '       Treasure hunt. We all know that festivities usually involve a lot of gift-giving. Why not turn this into a treasure hunt for the little ones. Give them little 'bread crumb' gifts to keep them on the trail and get them up and running instead of sitting around waiting for the opportunity to rip through all the gifts. It'll burn off some of their energy. '       Do a class together. Tai-chi, kickboxing, yoga, Pilates, Fencing, Capoeira are all on offer.  Many instructors will happily do a private class, which means you could book a session for the whole family. '       Create a plan. It's easy to imagine you'll have time for all sorts of activities at the beginning of the December break. But, if you don't plan properly, you may find the days slipping by without much getting done. Not that you want your break to be filled with have-to-dos, but if your goal is to spend quality time with your family, you'll need to plan ahead. Set aside at least two day a week during the holidays for active family time. Get a roster going and let everyone have their choice of what to do for the day; this will help to get everyone's buy-in. If your teenager chooses paintball for example, the whole family needs to commit to it. TIP: Setting goals and rewards increase motivation. Set a fitness goal for the holidays with rewards for those who complete the activities necessary to reach the goal. You can set individual goals, or a whole family goal; for example you may start by only being able to do 10 star jumps before becoming breathless ' set a goal of being able to do 20 with ease. The reward can be a relaxing activity, a favourite meal or a chore-free day. DID YOU KNOW? Studies show that children who are supported by friends and families to become active, or are surrounded by others interested in physical activity are more likely to be active themselves.

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