Indulging over the holidays is to be expected. But don't let the annual bacchanalian binge get you in a panic when the new year appears. There are small ways you can keep yourself physically and mentally in shape, even if you can't get to the gym or spare the time for a three-hour hike when the entire family is in town. According to fitness and well-being experts, the little things are more beneficial than you might imagine. 'If you only have 15 to 20 minutes a day while on holiday and you want to pack something in, you'd be looking at what we call the six basic movement patterns,' says Pure Fitness training manager David Menhennett. 'They include pushing [anything from push-ups to shoulder presses], pulling [such as chin-ups], squats [hands on hips or outstretched], lunges [one leg a time], twisting and bending [dead lifting, a movement similar to taking something out of the boot of a car so the bend comes from the hips and not the knees],' he says. Or a brisk walk for 20 minutes can do the trick if that is all you can spare. 'Bowen Road is a classic place to do that because all along it there are monkey bars and exercise structures - so if you're looking for a one-hit wonder, it's ideal,' he says. Menhennett also says Pure recommends fit balls and stretchy bands with handles at either end for use at home, as they're inexpensive, portable and don't take up space. 'There are many exercises using both of those,' he adds. 'There is also the TRX system, a total resistance exercise item made of nylon straps that you anchor to the top of your door frame and with which you can do a host of exercises. You can do a programme using 12 exercises, so you're looking at about 30 minutes.' Menhennett says cardiovascular exercise is important, but that resistance training is just as crucial, if not more so. 'That's because we need muscle mass for a whole host of reasons - among them protecting the body as we get older by increasing immune function and helping to avoid greater injury during accidents such as falls,' he says. With that in mind, periods when you're unable to get on a treadmill may be good opportunities to vary your routine with more simple strengthening approaches. 'As a Pilates instructor, I like to encourage my clients to try and do at least seven in the sequence of classic Pilates mat exercises to continue to enjoy the benefits that Pilates has to offer, particularly when they can't come in to the studio,' says Sandy Jenner, who runs Embody Studio in Discovery Bay. 'They can do these anywhere. You just need to place a mat, towel or blanket on the floor.' But Jenner says when pressed for time that the 'hundreds' is an ideal quick exercise for home. It gets the core moving for greater stability. Firstly, Jenner says, bring your knees in to your chest, lift your head, reach your arms long down by your side and start breathing - in for five counts and out for five counts - pumping the arms just above the abdominal wall. Keep looking into your stomach with your shoulders gliding down your back as you pump. If you can keep your back flat on the mat, lift your legs to the sky. For a challenge, take the legs to a 45 degree angle. As for the reason it's called the hundreds? Count 100 breaths. 'Pilates himself said that if you do a few of these exercises in sequential order for just 10 minutes a day, you'll subconsciously lengthen your workout to 20 minutes without realising it. The exercises stir sluggish circulation into action, stimulating the brain and willpower functions,' Jenner says. For those who practise yoga, steal 10 minutes in the morning or evening and get started early on the detox process. Yvonne Hsi, a yoga instructor at the Four Seasons hotel, says it's a duty to stay healthy for ourselves and our loved ones, especially during the family-centred holiday period. 'It's not wrong to have half an hour for ourselves every day,' says Hsi. 'We need the time to heal, detox, strengthen, stretch and connect breath to mind to body.' One of Hsi's recommended poses for internal cleansing and revitalisation is the viparita karani (legs-up-the-wall). Lie with your buttocks close to a wall, maybe with a bolster under your lower back. Stretch both legs up straight against the wall and if you want, use an eye pillow to help switch off. Bend your arms and let them rest just above head level, forearms down. Then breathe. Hold this pose for five minutes. Another pose is the paschimottanasana (seated forward bend). Sit as tall as possible on your sitting bones and stretch both legs in front of you, feet energised with toes pointing upwards. Take deep breaths in and out, then reach up and slowly stretch forward while breathing in and out slowly. The idea is not to force it but to use breathing to reach as far to the front as possible. If your hamstrings are tight, go easy. If you practise yoga, then aim to go lower. Again, try to hold for up to five minutes, depending on your level. 'A combination of pranayama [breathing exercises] and yoga poses helps the body to excrete toxins,' says Hsi. 'Different types of breathing exercises will not only help clear the nasal cavity, but also encourage an abundant amount of oxygen to enter the lungs, which is pumped throughout the body, mobilising tissues and stimulating energy flow.' For executive coach and co-founder of the Shakti Healing Circle Stephen Clasper, so much has been written about the advantages of regular exercise that it can feel like nagging to bring it up again. 'However, the benefit to our physical, emotional and mental well-being is so significant that exercise cries out for attention,' Clasper says. 'The research is so convincing and consistent that it makes sense to take at least some exercise, even if it means simply walking up a few flights of stairs at home or work every day.' Clasper says people tend to worry about having enough time to get things done, but 'to be really effective, we should be focusing instead on managing our energy levels'. And since our mental state is inextricably linked to physical well-being, taking care of both is a way to achieve balance. Clasper recommends meditation for quiet reflection. 'We cannot 'not think', and throughout the day we're engaged in a mental chatter with ourselves, whether we want this or not. The harder we try to keep our minds still, the more thoughts we seem to generate,' he says. Meditation, he says, is a technique anyone can learn to clear the chatter for a few moments to take back control over their life. 'Its many benefits include boosting the immune system, reducing pain, blood pressure and anxiety, and increasing problem-solving and the ability to handle stressful situations.' So before the real New Year resolutions begin, start taking a few small steps in preparation. Don't know how to meditate? Go to www.swamij.com/online7min.htm for a free guided experience that takes just seven minutes.