Post image for Have fun – and exercise off the festive feasting

The calorie-busting festive statistics are not good for our health – but the opportunity to walk, cycle or have fun outdoors over the holiday period is.

According to a report by the British Dietetic Association, the modern extended Christmas period sees the average person increasing their calorie intake by 500kcal per day, resulting in a weight gain of up to 5lbs by the New Year.

The BDA warn that Christmas weight gain is becoming increasingly significant as the festive season is extended each year, with a longer lead in to the festivities in shops and supermarkets, bigger Christmas foods stocks on shelves, more tempting goodies and more Christmas parties.

That’s the bad news, especially if you are easily tempted to eat more high calorie Christmas foods. But there is some good news. Most people have an extended break from work at Christmas and New Year and this offers time for getting out to walk, cycle or do other forms of exercise.

10 ways to see off 500 calories in winter

Of course, it depends on how much you weigh and how hard you work at the exercise so these ideas will burn around 500 calories if you weigh around 10st. If you weigh more you’ll burn more. If you weigh less you’ll burn less.


Walk briskly for 1.5 hours. There are plenty of places to walk and if you add in a hill you’ll see greater toning and weight-loss benefits. Walking in snowy conditions is also tougher and will therefore provide a greater calorie burn. Why not choose a section of a waymarked long-distance walk, such as the Fife Coastal Path, the South Downs Way, The Ridgeway, or the South West Coastal Path? Or head to the mountains of Wales or Scotland, so long as you have the right winter walking knowledge.

Cycle for 50 minutes. Check out our blog guide to How to Cycle through the Winter. Again, a long-distance route, such as the Great Glen Way, C2C Cycle Route and Hadrian’s Cycleway are good places to cycle because you can follow the signs.

Cross-country skiing: An hour of skiing will see off 500 calories. Let’s hope for some snow in the UK this winter.

Running: 45 minutes at a speed of 6 miles per hour should be enough to reduce that festive feasting by 500 calories.

Ice-skating: Many towns and cities set up outdoors ice rinks at this time of year. Enjoy an hour of skating for a 500-calorie burn.


Snow shoeing is surprisingly tiring, especially if you add in a few hills, and will burn 500 calories in around 40 minutes. You will need to wait for a good dump of snow in  the UK, or head out on snowshoes during a ski resort holiday in Europe of Americ.

Sledding or tobogganing: You’ll need some snow and 90 minutes of fun with your kids to burn 500 calories. But we bet you’ll not be complaining, just grinning from ear to ear!

Roller blading: Or perhaps you call it in-line skating. Give either a go for an hour.

Interval training: Runners only need to do 20 minutes of sprinting, with some easier jogging in between for recovery, to eliminate 500 calories.

Swimming: If you are brave enough and can find a friend, how about an outdoors wild swim in winter? You will probably choose to swim outdoors in a wetsuit although some people brave the waters in just a swimming costume Indoors swimming is just as good but not as thrilling.

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