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Exercise at Christmas Without the Gym

Gyms get pretty deserted around Christmas time. Everyone is so busy with preparations, parties and people visiting that it's hard to fit in getting there, getting changed and going through a routine as regularly as you might the rest of the year. But don't give up on exercise completely - you'll find it far harder to get back in the swing of things if you do. Make exercise part of the fun and keep yourself ticking over until it's time to get back to the gym in January. Maybe you'll enjoy the alternatives so much you'll never go back! 1. Do less Just do ten minutes if that's all you can manage.

Ten minutes of anything - walking around the house or stair stepping or skipping or rebounding - anything that fits your level of fitness and the equipment you have available at home. You can do it in the morning before your shower and it will energise you for everything you have to get done. If you can fit in 10 minutes later on too, so much the better. You'll keep up your fitness levels and use a few calories which you can probably do with at this time of year. Do a class at home Fitness videos are great if you don't have much time. There's no getting to the gym - you have everything you need right at home. You can pick them up for next to nothing from charity shops or treat yourself to one or two for Christmas. And it doesn't matter if you don't know the moves or have the latest fitness gear - nobody's watching! 3. Clear Up No doubt you have to get your home ready for friends and family visiting anyway so make the clear up a workout. Put lots of energy into it! Clear out all that clutter then clean, vacuum and polish everything until it gleams. You'll be ready for guests, keep up your fitness levels and use some calories all at the same time. Active fun If you have a lot of guests and can't get your usual exercise fix organise some active fun for everyone! You could all go bowling or skating. Or try a game of charades or Twister.

If it snows, you can go sledging or organise a snowman building competition. At the very least get them all out for a walk every day whatever the weather. There are sure to be some lights to go and see or a local carol service to attend. Dance the Night Away Don't be a wallflower. Take every opportunity to dance at parties (it will keep you away from the buffet table too) or just invite your partner to go dancing over the holidays. You'll have fun, get closer and it'll be great exercise. Dancing uses up between 270 and 540 calories an hour depending on the speed. Offer a helping hand Get active by volunteering your services in your community.

You can help serve lunch at a homeless shelter or old people's home. Or just help your neighbours with running errands and snow clearing. You'll get a warm glow from lending a hand as well as from the exercise and feel much better than you do after sitting around all afternoon watching the re-runs of "White Christmas". Escape And if all else fails, next year book a skiing holiday for your Christmas break instead of staying at home. There's a whole year to save up (and to dodge the rows when you tell your family you're going away next year!) Skiing is fantastic exercise and you'll come back fit, invigorated and without those extra few pounds so many seem to acquire over Christmas. ZZZZZZ .


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