Family walking in forest wearing a festive woolly hat

How to stay healthy during the festive season

The festive season is a time we usually associate with indulgence and relaxation. It’s when we’ll spend time with family and friends, usually drinking and eating more decadent food than normal.

While this is one of the great things about the festive period, it can also be a hindrance if you are trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Keep your fitness levels up and your calorie intake in check with our top tips for staying healthy during the holidays.

1. Walk as much as possible

It may be cold and you may have a hundred and one things to do. Nevertheless, deciding to go to the shop or to pick up the kids by foot instead of driving is a great way to get your blood pumping and take in some fresh winter air.

Why not set yourself a walking target every week and measure it using a pedometer app? From walking your dog through to taking a brisk lunch time stroll, getting outside in the open air will clear your head and help maintain your exercise levels.

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2. Get outside and play!

Most of us might not be lucky enough to get snow this winter, but there are plenty of other fun outdoor winter activities to enjoy besides snowball fights and sledding.

Why not try going for a bike ride with a friend or your partner, getting your mates together for a friendly game of football or improving your skating skills at your local ice rink? You’ll feel slightly less guilty afterwards when you head to the pub for a drink.

3. Take up a class

 If you’re not the outdoor type, why not take up a class at your local gym or sports centre?

Yoga or Pilates can help keep you active, or if you want to do something more energetic, have a go at spinning or circuit training. Exercise classes are a good way to unwind after a day of festive preparations and will also improve your muscle strength and overall fitness.

4. Lower your alcohol intake

It may be party season and the time for drinking plenty of mulled wine, boozy hot drinks and fizz but the calories in alcohol can quickly begin to take their toll.

You can still have your fun with a few drinks every now and then, but why not consider non-alcoholic alternatives, or drinks with less calories like gin and tonic?

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5. Don’t be tempted to extend the festive period

With shops selling Christmas goodies a good two months in advance of the big day, it can be tempting to snack on mince pies in November or keep a tin of chocolates as a permanent fixture in your living room.

Try to avoid buying or making festive treats until December and make sure they are nowhere in sight once the second week of January rolls round. This will stop you from overindulging early and causing a total relapse in your healthy New Year’s resolution diet.

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Shop Food & Drink Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.

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Nutrition