We don’t normally associate the festive period with fitness, long runs and gym visits – but we’re more frequently hearing that you guys love getting out on the roads and the trails around Christmas time!

So why isn’t the festive break *actually* a break? The answer is simple. The lead up to Christmas can be a stressful one what with the shopping, crowded places, board game arguments and dare we say it, hangovers! Running is almost always the cure. The proof is in the pudding – more time spent exercising, the better you’ll feel mentally.

Let’s look at why.

First, running uniquely permits you a long time to be mindful. Instead of worrying about what gifts you’re buying for who, you have time to think about the now. Thinking in the present allows us to focus on ourselves and there’s little time for your mind to wander back to Christmas stressing.

Let’s not forget that the Christmas break is still a time for relaxing – but a lot of people still aren’t aware of what relaxation is to them. We find that many avid runners struggle to do nothing, and that’s because it’s the feeling of getting out and about which relaxes them. Give it a go and you’ll likely find out!

December is generally a time to reflect on your year – and there’s plenty of reason to celebrate at Christmas. It might be the first time your family have got together in a while, or perhaps you’ve enjoyed a particularly successful year at work? Christmas basically means a lot of late nights. And why will running help? Sleep. Even the shortest of runs, tempo or moderate, is proven to improve the quality of your sleep. That’s like gold dust at Christmas, and you’re guaranteed to feel all the better for it.

For those who worry about cooking Christmas lunch, running will help to put your mind at ease. It’s scientifically proven that getting out and soaking up the natural environment does wonders to alleviate your anxieties and help you to get back on track. We spoke about being mindful, and this is very similar.

And last, Christmas does a lot to mess up our usual routines – we see family more, we plan big occasions, there’s work Christmas parties, incessant eating and drinking and you live anything but the 9-5 routine. That’s where running comes in. You’ve trained all year, so why stop now? There’s an idea that all routine plans go out the window once Christmas rolls around – but we disagree. If you’re going keep one thing constant, make it your running. It doesn’t have to be intense, but your mind will feel great for it.

You might have noticed – this isn’t exclusive to Christmas. These are well-known basics. Running aids your mental health, and many of you will know this already. This Christmas, get out there, feel good and enjoy the time you have!