Sit-Ups instead of Chocolate
In a study, researchers are testing an Advent calendar full of sports exercises – the program includes jumping jacks and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”. Does it have to be that way? Traditionally, seekers can’t escape the holiday spirit either. So studies are published every year with supposedly celebratory—and somewhat meaningful—questions. What does snow look like under an electron microscope? How does gingerbread affect the intestinal flora? As if you weren’t already saturated with “Christmas past” on a continuous loop, buy gifts and over-decorated pedestrian areas. Scientists at Loughborough University are taking this to the extreme with a Christmas sports programme, which they present on ‘BMJ’.
107 sedentary adults participated, almost all middle-aged women. Two-thirds of them received an email every day from 1 to 24 December 2021 with a “Christmas” exercise, each with three possible intensity levels: the Christmas Tree dance category. Four A Christmas Carol had to be shaken in “Mild Mrs. Santa Claus” and five in “Santa Claus Fatigue”, the hardest level.
The drill wasn’t new, jumping jacks and the like had just been renamed. Jumping rope became “Ho Ho Hopping” and sit-ups became “Abs Santa”. On Christmas Eve, there were 30 flights of stairs to climb. The researchers warn that such interventions are necessary, because Christmas is dangerous for health: on average, people gain between 400 and 900 grams while they are also inactive.
You’re right, dear Loughborough sportsmen, but relaxation and gluttony are the only things that make Christmas bearable. A difficult year, full of crises and wars, and the World Cup in Qatar is behind us. Ultimately, we want to be able to curl up on the couch with cookies and not do jumping jacks at Christmas. And after a glass or two of wine, you can dance to “Last Christmas” anyway.
By the way, the mathematical advent calendar had little effect. Participants exercised more than the control group in just one week, a measly 20 minutes. However, most of them stated that they found the program to be very good. Maybe they got caught up in the holiday spirit and wanted to make the searchers happy.