COLUMN: How to stay active over the festive period

There's plenty of ways to stay active over Christmas.
There's plenty of ways to stay active over Christmas.

There are many barriers to exercise, although the number one reason most people say they don't exercise is lack of time.

Christmas presents (no pun intended) its own challenge in that respect. If you are struggling to find the motivation to work off those extra pigs in blankets, though, remember that short bouts of physical activity in 10-minute segments will still help you achieve health benefits. Brief periods of exercise over the Christmas period will do more good than you know.

Set realistic goals and take small steps to get moving more on a daily basis - such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator when you’re in the shops for the Boxing Day sales and walking to the shop to pick up those mince pies instead of driving, or even cycling to work if your office is open during the Christmas break. To help you stick with your new exercise habit, make sure you vary your routine. Even if the weather doesn't cooperate, have a plan B. You can start by trying out body weight exercises in the comfort of your own home or short cardiovascular workouts in the living room.

People also cite money as another reason they can’t exercise. Getting fit doesn’t have to break the bank though. Christmas can feel like the most expensive time of the year when all of the presents stack up, but there are plenty of ways to stay trim for free. Take a break from the Christmas songs by the fire and get outside for a jog. Dragging a partner or family member out with you will help to keep you going! Anybody can exercise - just start small and set SMART goals (Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-framed)