Follow the classic 80/20 rule by sticking to your healthy routine 80% of the time and using the other 20% of the time is to indulge in whatever suits you - within reason! It’s far better to eat moderate amounts of what you fancy rather than starving yourself in the run up to Christmas only to stuff yourself silly over the festive period. Moderate is the message when it comes to exercise too. Your 30 minutes can be split up into chunks, so if you’re pressed for time you can do three lots of 10 minutes or two lots of 15 minutes instead. As long as it gets your heart rate pumping at a slightly higher rate you can count it in your quota. So make your walk around the shops brisk enough and you’ll have hit the target without even noticing.



If you’ve had a heady night or huge meal, don’t sit back and resign yourself to the fact that you’ve blown your good intentions. Instead of beating yourself up about it, just get back into it. As soon as that hangover wears off and you can face the light of day, do some form of exercise to get your blood flowing and activate your muscles. You’ll feel far more refreshed after a bout of activity and will have repaired some of the damage.


Shopping is part and parcel of the Christmas experience so if we’re spending all this time in the shops, what hope is there of fitting in some exercise? Be a bit inventive and when you have to shop make sure you do as much on foot as possible. If it’s too far to walk all the way to the shops then consider a ‘park and walk’. You’ll avoid circling round for hours trying to find a parking space and you should miss the worst of the traffic. While it might not feel like exercise, all that searching for presents can leave you walking for hours without even realising it. And if you can’t afford to shop ‘til you drop then you can always window shop ‘til you drop for the same effect.


A study by AXA shows that more than 10 million Britons (22%) are stressed and worried about the cost of Christmas and New Year. And not only is it the cost, the frenzy of the festive period - office parties, food preparation, pleasing all the family and financial pressures - can lead to frazzled nerves and stop us enjoying what is meant to be a time for fun.

Exercise is a great way to increase mood-enhancing endorphins to banish the blues. If you are feeling sluggish, tired and dejected, wrap up warm and go out for a brisk half-hour walk. It might be a struggle getting going but once you’ve done it you’ll be glad you made the effort.