SURVIVING THE FESTIVE PARTY SEASON

With so much temptation around, it’s no surprise that most people skip their healthy living and shun their workouts regimes over the Christmas party period. They expect to eat more, to exercise less and to pile on the pounds – passing it off as extra winter insulation!

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But exercise abandonment and weight gain needn’t be a given. There are many things you can do to ensure your festive cheer leads to a guilt free New Year, without turning into a miserable Scrooge in the process.

The Sports Council for Wales has come up with some top tips to help you slot the recommended 30 minutes of exercise into your day. And to complement your new found fitness, they’ve scouted some healthy eating advice from an expert dietician to see you through the party season.

Follow their advice and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy yourself AND stay fit and healthy during the festive season. All it takes is a pinch of planning, a dollop of goal-setting and little dose of good old-fashioned discipline!

TOP TIPS

  1. MAKE EXERCISE PART OF YOUR DAY

At this time of the year, exercise tends to be one of the first things that get abandoned from your daily routine. Any spare time gets swallowed up by shopping, planning, parties and visiting. But exercising in the run-up to Christmas isn’t actually as impracticable as it sounds. The trick is to incorporate a bit of activity into the things you have to do. So when you’re visiting the family get them to venture out for a walk rather than slumping in front of the sofa. Not only will you be burning calories, it should also limit your intake by taking you away from the temptation of the Quality Street tin and mountain of mince pies. And don’t forget that simple things can make a big difference, like delivering your local cards by hand and using your lunch breaks to walk to the shops to help your shopping along.

  1. THINK UP SOME NEW, MORE ACTIVE TRADITIONS.

The run-up to Christmas brings with it some predictable traditions; sit-down celebratory meals with colleagues and friends, after-work drinks in a smoke-filled bar and parties where the buffet is the main attraction. The office party can be a stagnant affair so make it your mission to liven things up. Dance as much as you can and blast away the calories. You could even challenge your colleague to join you on the dancefloor for a dance off. If you’re on your feet and dancing at a fast pace you can expect to burn around 349 calories and 191 calories in if you go a bit slower. Alternatively get a bit more inventive with your Christmas get together and try some festive ice skating, bowling or skittles, followed by a warming glass or two of mulled wine.

  1. GET BACK TO BASICS

The first national size survey in Britain since the 1950’s proved that men and women are not only getting bigger but changing proportionally (2002). The average British woman has gained 6.6lb, 6.4cm around the hips and 16.5cm around the waist compared with her 1950s counterpart. But yet fat and overall calorie intake was higher than it is today. So why the increase? It’s probably got something to do with the fact that compared with the amount of physical activity we were doing 50 years ago; we’re currently doing the equivalent of a marathon a week less physical activity now.

Over the festive period it’s easy to see how we’re losing that marathon distance. From visiting the family, food shopping and visits to the pub, everywhere was travelled on foot. And without the temptations of digital television and computer games consoles there was much less stagnating on the sofa. So the secret to slimming the waistline is simple – get walking.