Health Advocate Blog

Muscle recovery during the holidays

Leading up to the holiday season, you may have had an easier time staying dedicated to your weekly workout routine. Whether it’s been hitting the track for a run, an active bike ride on a weekend afternoon, or working on building a better physique in the weight room, the brisk weather may not have slowed you down from achieving your goals. However, the holiday season is finally here, bringing with it extended vacations and large meals with family and friends. This may lead you to believe that the holidays could really present challenges to your workout routine and eating habits. Use the benefits of the holiday season to your advantage—allow yourself time to rest and recover!

Rest and recovery time is crucial for a healthy workout routine. Instead of shunning that afternoon nap before the gym or being afraid to relax a little during the week, remember that one of the best things you can do for your body is rewarding it with some rest. While your body is resting, this is when your muscles take time to recover and grow.

So how much rest do you need?

A great guideline to follow is to consider the 8-10 week plan.

If you’ve just started your workout plan/routine: Perhaps you’re just a few weeks in and fear that a holiday week off may harm your progress. Fear not! If you’re just at the start of your plan, your body is most likely still trying to adjust to the activity you’ve been engaged in (the best workout plans are designed to prepare you for greater exercise as you progress). As an example, if you’re in week three of a dedicated 8-10 week plan that slowly progresses to heavier lifting or growing intensity:

  • Stick to your routine as scheduled before your week off
  • Once you’re back from your few days off, take it light the first week to warm up where you left off

If you’ve been doing high-intensity workouts for 8-10 weeks: A week-long rest may indeed do more for your body than continuing to push yourself.

Rest doesn’t necessarily mean “no activity at all”…

If taking that week-long rest still sounds like a pitfall for you, consider some light workouts in between your planned family gatherings or getaway vacations. These can include:

  • Active walks. Active walks are typically faster and longer than a simple stroll in the park. Try reaching 3 miles within the first hour of your walk. Keep the elbows bent, and practice deep breaths!
  • A light jog of no more than 30 minutes.
  • A casual bike ride

Simple exercises like these can help maintain the stamina you’ve worked to build and keep you active during the holidays! So remember not to panic with the onset of the holidays, and reward yourself with rest and a tasty meal to keep you motivated. After the holidays, pick up where you left off after your rest, continuing to push and reach your physical goals, whatever they may be!

For Health Advocate members

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the wellness coaching component of our Wellness Program, call us today to connect with a Wellness Coach for more great tips to stay healthy during the holidays!