Top tips for staying in shape over the festive period

Julie Delahaye

While the run-up to Christmas and New Year's Eve is the perfect excuse to indulge, it doesn't mean you have to completely abandon your fitness routine. Although hitting the gym doesn't have to be a priority, if you keep up exercising you'll feel the benefits in the long-term – and you'll be able to enjoy the extra food and drink feeling completely guilt-free!

We take a look at some of the easy ways to stay in shape over the festive period…

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Staying in shape over the festive period can have long-term benefits

Set aside time to exercise

The festive season brings with it a hectic social calendar, so if you're struggling to find the time to work out, try scheduling it first thing in the morning. This way it's out of your mind for the rest of the day, and you won't be forced to choose between Christmas drinks or the treadmill.

Stay active

Exercising doesn't have to be a full hour at the gym – just half an hour a day will do. Try going for a brisk 20-minute walk, or a short morning run. If you want to get into the festive spirit, you could even go to the local ice skating rink, a perfect excuse to socialise with friends at the same time.

De-stress with yoga

Between present shopping and running from one social event to the next, December can be a somewhat stressful month. Yoga can be a great way to relax, while simultaneously working out your muscles.

Eat a balanced diet

This is easier said than done, especially during party season. When preparing healthy meals, add extra portions and store these in the freezer for a diet-friendly alternative to ready meals when you don't have time to cook.

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Just half an hour of exercise a day is enough to keep fit

Try HIIT workouts

If you're keen to still exercise hard but don't have as much time, high intensity interval training (HIIT) is an intense and super effective way of burning calories. Sessions usually last about half an hour, but you'll work your body to the max for great results.

Set realistic goals

From office parties to family gatherings, your calendar won't have as much free time as it usually does. Set objectives you know you can meet, such as 30 minutes of exercise a day, or days off from indulging – this way you will avoid disappointment and stay motivated all the way into the new year.

Limit your indulgence

Don't be too strict on yourself – the festive period is the perfect time to eat, drink and be merry with your loved ones. However in the run-up to Christmas try to limit the days on which you indulge – for example giving yourself a break only on days of major events or gatherings.

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Allow yourself some days of indulgence

Stay toned with strength training

If you're looking to get lean and strong, try to keep up strength training to maintain the muscle mass you've worked hard to get. Don't be tempted to use light weights or focus on cardio – you can burn just as many calories by lifting weights.

Stay hydrated

Salty foods, fizzy drinks, alcohol and late nights all play a role in the party season, so make sure to drink eight glasses of water a day so your body stays hydrated – plus it will keep your hair and skin looking healthy, perfect for any party look!

Get enough beauty sleep

If you're running around and having too many late nights, your body won't be able to keep up. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep a day, for both your mental and physical wellbeing.