Skip to main contentSkip to footer

Easy ways to burn off your Christmas feast

Nadine Baggott
Nadine BaggottBeauty Editor
Share this:

If the season to be jolly is leaving you piling on the pounds, try the most enjoyable workout in town. Many of the fun things to do over the Christmas holidays will also help you crunch the calories

With all the not-so-glad tidings about the calories contained in festive food, it’s great to know that the Christmas period can also deliver the perfect healthy gift – a free workout. By choosing to move more as you go about your usual holiday activities, you can minimise any weight gain.


Christmas decorating can easily occupy an afternoon. When you add together the choosing and bringing home of the Christmas tree, the going up and down the stepladder to secure the star and decorations on the top, and the decking of the halls with boughs of holly and tinsel, you can burn at least 350 calories. As long as you don’t reward yourself with a mince pie and brandy butter, then it’s a great way to expend energy and get the house into the seasonal spirit.


Forgo online shopping and get out into the crowds. Whether it’s for Christmas gifts, the Boxing Day sales, or stocking up for a New Year’s Eve party, shopping can burn up to 100 calories an hour. Add the carrying of heavy bags, racing up and down store stairs and aisles, queueing and walking to the bus or train to get to the shops and you could burn off 500 calories in a busy day.

shopping© Photo: Getty Images

House cleaning

It’s not the most fun of the holiday season jobs, but cleaning the house before the relatives come to stay for Christmas and clearing up after them once the celebrations are over means that you will certainly expend some energy. Light cleaning such as dusting and changing bed linens can use around 100 calories an hour, while vacuuming and mopping floors and tiles can burn double that amount. It’s a great upper-arm workout, too.

Wrapping Presents

It might seem like a sedentary activity, but shopping for wrapping paper and cards, then writing them out and wrapping the gifts can easily see you burning 120 calories an hour.

Christmas Day Walk

Don’t collapse in front of the TV after your Christmas lunch – instead, head out for a walk with the family. You could also get out into the great outdoors while the turkey cooks, to build up an appetite. A brisk hour-long walk burns around 300 calories.

walking 1© Photo: Getty Images

Ice Skating

Have you been tempted to try a seasonal pop-up ice rink? Dress warmly, pad up and go for it because it expends around 160 calories every 30 minutes. If you are good at it, you can go fast. If you are a beginner, the effort required to stand upright means that you give your core, lower back and stomach muscles a great workout.


Prepping and cooking a meal burns around 140 calories an hour. Add the washing up and scrubbing pans, then drying and putting them away and you could burn another 150 calories.


If you are invited to a dance over the holiday season, say yes. It doesn’t matter if you are clubbing, salsa-ing or ballroom dancing, all dance is a great form of exercise. Energetic dancing can burn around 200 calories every 30 minutes – just consider how much weight some of the contestants on Strictly Come Dancing achieve every year if you need any convincing.


Christmas Day games are not only fun, but they can help you burn calories. Sitting down to play some board games will only burn around 50 calories an hour, but jump up and take part in charades, karaoke or interactive sports or dance games on your children’s games consoles and that figure can jump to 300 calories an hour – and you’ll be laughing all the while.


It might seem strange to think that sleeping burns calories, but it does. So even while you’re waiting for Santa to arrive, or recovering from a party, you will be burning around 400 calories overnight.

More Health & Fitness

See more