Picture — Pixabay

First comes the Shravan month with a ritual and celebration everyday. Then comes Ganapati to up the festive fervour followed by Her Majesty, Durga and her ten avatars over ten days. Even before the dhoop in the air fades away, there arrives the Grande Affaire Diwali! And while you are still coping with the hangover of back-to-back festivals, its time to decorate that Christmas tree and get ready to party away to bring in new Year!

While all the festivities keep you busy and happy, its only later that you realise you had altered your routine, got indulgent and plumped up by an inch or two. As an aftermath, though you feel like hitting the gym again, you feel sluggish and do not want to move an inch. And you start thinking-What in the world happened? Why am I not able to get back on my feet again?

Don’t worry! You are not alone! We only live once and its no big a crime to have some old-fashioned fun, isn’t it?! Afterall, how often can you gorge on those irresistible delicacies and look gorgeous with all those festive attire and adornments?

There can be many other instances that make people to take a break from working out- travel, change of location, injury, pregnancy, medical and other emergencies, exams, functions and many more. These are mostly personal and the period of break depends on the individual. On the other hand, festivals and weather conditions are most common reasons people skip their workout. That’s how you can see almost empty gyms and deserted playgrounds during festivals or rains.

As such, a break like this is rather welcome. It is a way of giving that much-desired rest to the body. On all other days, everyone gets busy in his or her routine life. Proper rest does not feature as an essential element in a day’s grind. We sometimes even neglect how tired and exhausted we are, but still workout like someone possessed. But a festival breaks this robotic pattern and advises you to take it easy and slow.

The mind switches to relaxation mode when the festivities are around. Be it the excitement of a holiday, a change of mechanical routine, different activities or the sheer fun of spending time with family and friends, festivals are an instant dose of happiness. Ever notice that post-festive glow?

Festivals are essentially about food, so you end up eating to no end. Fret not! During festivals, across cultures, people celebrate and cook with seasonal produce. Festivals are a reason for eating ‘medicinal’ food to prepare the body for the oncoming seasons. Ever wondered why a lot of fried food is eaten during Diwali? Well, it is a guilt-free way of loading the body with essential fats and keeping the bones and joints healthy to face the onslaught of winter! So, even if you eat more than you normally would, festive eating would make up for the insufficiencies in nutrients and help you up your immunity level.

What then, is the reason that causes a lag in motivation to get back on track? Your mind! Because it gets a taste of all things good without much effort, it wants to live and re-live the experience and tricks you from regaining normalcy.

Too much rest and overeating can only negate all the benefits so earned and cause opposite effects. An indefinitely extended holiday will sure cause things to reverse. So it is necessary to get back up and get going to maximise the benefits. The first step is always the most difficult but also the most important in achieving anything. Once you come out of the festive mood and step out towards the gym, half the battle is won.

If you have been a person who has always been conscious about health and fitness, chances are that you have not gone out of shape in your break. It is impossible to undo months or even years of healthy lifestyle. Even those who have been on a weight loss mission would not just pile on kilos in a few days. And if you have decided to hit the gym again, chances are that you are one of those who acknowledge the importance of getting back into action.

So now, you are through the toughest level of the game and on the gym floor. It has been a while since you broke your tough physical regime. How do you get back on? Simple. Yes, start simple and move gradually over. Afterall, you don’t want to get sore muscles in a day and get back to rest. Give your body some time, say at least three days, to readjust to the routine. If you were sweating it out for an hour, start with half an hour so that the body doesn’t protest and go on the defensive. This way, you can gradually increase the time and intensity and maintain the habit. And don’t forget to stretch before and after the workout. It is the only way to ease into the workout pattern.

If this is the way of returning after a break, you can always, along with all the festive fun, be in touch with exercise. If at the gym, your goal is weight loss or bodybuilding, you can temporarily change the goal to maintaining fitness level during festivals. Like in the holy month of Ramzan, when exercising to your full potential is impossible, you can manage to work out for a minimal time once you break the fast. Or during long festivals like Ganapati, Dasara and Diwali, try and squeeze out even 10 minutes of your time at intervals and do some form of exercise. Festivals come with their own share of physical work- cleaning, shopping et al. If you can manage to walk your way for some small time shopping or engage yourself in cleaning (an underrated physical exercise- you actually pant for breath after mopping, cleaning the attic or moving furniture), you get your daily dose of workout already! If you are one of those who equate festivals to unrestricted dancing, dance till you drop! Even with regard to food — eat it, eat them all. Only, make sure to watch the portion of your food and how often you eat.

With Diwali just around the corner, festive spirit is already in the air. Its time you let your hair down. Remember to enjoy the healthy way, relax and plan before hand when you would return to workout. Happy Diwali!!

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