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Have a healthy and happy Christmas

By CAROLYN EVAN-WATKINS [email protected]

Carolyn Evan-Watkins is a sports, fitness and Pilates instructor with more than 15 years experience. She is a lecturer, teaching and assessing instructors in health and fitness. Carolyn has also been a Government advisor, and still writes and presents her own courses within this field. She moved to the Algarve last year and teaches Pilates classes in Vale do Lobo and Boliqueime.

Well Christmas is nearly here, and as well as wishing everyone a happy and healthy Christmas and New Year, I wanted to pass on a few tips about keeping on track – health and weight wise, over the festive period.  

At this time of year, people tend to avoid their usual exercise regime because of the parties, shopping and stress that can be associated with Christmas.  It is important to maintain some sort of health and fitness plan, so that you can get the most out of this wonderful time of year.

Here are some suggestions I hope you will find useful in helping to relax, keep your energy levels up and your waistline down.

Please remember that it is important to eat regularly, and maintain a balanced diet.  This does not mean that you cannot enjoy yourself.   At this time of year we seem to eat very little during the day, so we can go out and have a large meal at night.  It is so easy to over-indulge but you will feel much better if you eat at regular intervals throughout the day.

Try to maintain some sort of exercise plan. As it’s a time for families, so get everyone involved, and I don’t mean all go to the gym together.  Being healthy does not always mean structured exercise; it can simply mean everyone going for walks together.  Remember a little exercise is far better than none at all.

Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol – a small glass of wine contains approximately 100 calories.  That in itself will put on weight, but it will also stimulate your appetite.  

Talk more – eat and drink less. A rule I firmly believe in – as my family will testify to (the talking part, I mean).  Christmas is a time for celebration and fun, socialising with family and friends, and this does not simply mean a time to eat more.  Play games, watch television/films together, go for walks. There are a number of charity walks and events being held, which is not only good for the body, but also for the soul.  What can be better than in helping others, you help yourself too.

Make time for yourself – if you are rested and relaxed, you will have more of yourself to give to others.  A good piece of advice a friend once gave me.

I would like to wish you a very, very happy Christmas and peaceful New Year. Thank you for taking the time to read my articles, I do hope you have found them to be informative and helpful.