Seventh Day of Christmas

Seven Swans a Swimming: About Keeping Active, Encouraging Exercise and Avoiding too Much Television.

In this series of items the Twelve Days of Christmas traditional song is used to find inspiration for some Christmas Musings.

swans on water
Families Coming Together
photo credit: L.C.Nøttaasen

Christmas may be a day or two off work for some, whilst for others it can last a couple of weeks.  Even if you aren’t working, it’s a time when things around us slow down and families come together.  We want to get as much out of the holiday time as we possibly can and maximise the benefits that we can find in the Festive Season. There is a risk that we all overindulge and become less responsive and if we do nothing, that the time will slip by and it will become just another long weekend with little to look back on.

Clear Heads and a Little More Room

So, the dinner took hours to prepare and is eaten; the usual arguments about who washes up or loads the dishwasher have subsided and people have dispersed or are glued in front of a piece of technology in the house. What next? Maybe, shouting from the centre or the house, “Who wants to go for a walk?” is not going to muster up much enthusiasm but we all know it might clear heads and make a little room for a round of Turkey sandwiches and a mince pie!

We all need rest and recuperation but the body also requires exercise and the chance to burn up some energy. You don’t need to get yourself up to the standard of an Olympic athlete but it is widely held that just 30 minutes a day, five times a week can have significant psychological benefit as well as the obvious boost to your physical health.  The Mental Health Foundation lists the following as “A few,” of the benefits of moderate exercise:

  • less tension, stress and mental fatigue
  • a natural energy boost
  • improved sleep
  • a sense of achievement
  • focus in life and motivation
  • less anger or frustration
  • a healthy appetite
  • better social life
  • having fun.

Plan it in

If you think that finding a way to exercise together might be helpful to your family, then try planning it in.  The declaration might not go down well if people have already made their minds up to do something else but having a bit of warning that it’s coming might help them prepare and embrace the idea as another part of the holiday time together.   And, if you think you might benefit then just take those who want to go.  Sometimes, just a few of you getting ready might be the inspiration for the more reluctant ones to join in.

As for the children, they need to burn up energy.  If they don’t get enough exercisse, there’s a chance they will burn up the people who are caring for them!  The best chance we have of encouraging them to exercise is to build it in to their everyday lives so if you’re fortunate enough to have established that, a Christmas or Boxing Day walk might not be such a challenge.  A couple of things to consider might be to make the time interesting to them.  Taking a football or playing rounders might be good or even something like flying a kite if you have one.

Get in Touch

This was written by Michele and you can contact her here.