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My 6 activities of choice to keep fit and festive this season!

'Tis a truth universally acknowledged that fitness failures hit us hardest over the Christmas period. For some reason, it seems like a rite of passage to fall off the fitness bandwagon over the festive period and indulge heavily in Christmas treats with the resounding attitude of 'there's no point- we'll start in the New Year'. And granted it is the season of festive feasts and edible gifts, parties, drinking and general over-indulgence so slipping from your regular fitness routine is far from unusual, and if you feel like you struggle to keep up with your gym heavy schedule what with family visits and Christmas drinks events, then you are not alone.

There's an unspoken rule that weight gain over Christmas just comes with the territory- and you're not wrong. In fact the British Heart Foundation provided research last year to suggest that Britons collectively put on over 19.5million stone by New Year across the Christmas period. So if that isn't an eye opener, I don't know what will be! But it looks like everyone's in the same position. The same study showed that last year over 1 million of us didn't return to our normal fitness regime until February... ?!?! We really were dragging out the festivities clearly! With this in mind, whilst it is more than acceptable to take a step back from the intensity of your normal routines, why not keep up your fitness in new more seasonal ways and get involved in the festivities of fitness that London provides! So if we are going to indulge, let's at least put on a Santa suit and run for the mince pies first!

Here are my top 5 fitness and health related Christmas activities to take part in this Christmas to keep the scale crushing at bay! 

 

Dancing @ Mash It Up Fitness Xmas Event at Pineapple London

Pineapple dance studio- I can be vouch for - is an absolute treat of an experience no matter what the class. The classes occur all year round and totally open to public which means any dance style you want to try out, it is there at your fingertips for as little as £6. My most recent dance lesson here was a Dancehall class which I can say was 1 hour of sweaty exertion and booty shaking with a full routine by the end of the session! So that being said- this incredible location is providing a Christmas event special day for £15 if you buy tickets early! A day of different dance master classes taught by leading professionals of the industry, surprises thrown in throughout the day, a raffle and time to get to know your other dance fanatics! It's a whole day from 10-5:30 so prepare to burn some calories but it's a no brainer if we want to stand December with a Christmas party dance practice! 

Book you tickets on this link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mash-it-up-fitness-xmas-event-at-pineapple-london-tickets-36879195667

And whatsmore, located just off Long Acre makes it the perfect Christmas location to follow up your fitness with a little retail therapy! 

 

Hit the Streets

Yes. Walking. Think of the step count! The convenience of online shopping has become increasingly more appealing with the rise of high street shops pitching brands' biggest ranges on the web and with such services permitting next day delivery sees prospectus customers getting their goods from the comfort of their sofas... and quickly! But all of that being said- let's take a moment to think of the exercise we lose out on from taking out the browsing of Christmas shopping- and if you're like me- that's a LOT of browsing. Don't underestimate the power of walking. This low impact cardio maintains heart health, prevents high blood pressure, burns calories and tones too! To walk involves keeping the core constantly engaged so we're searching for Christmas gifts as well as abs! It also helps aid a good night sleep and lose weight! The simple theory that you must burn more calories than you take in is easily achievable when a 30 minute walk can burn around 100 calories (based on a weight of 60kg). So when we put this theory into context, a day out on Oxford Street consisting of at least 3 hours of walking from Primark to Topshop and back, in and out of retailers en route, we are looking at a approximate 600kcal burn! That definitely has your lunch covered, or Christmas post-work drinks at least! So the moral of this story is get up off the sofa and get the legs moving, and get your skates on, you haven't got long (64 days exactly!) Speaking of skates....

 

Ice Skating

This is the PERFECT time of year to take to the ice and get your best skills out to show off to your fellow festive friends. There is no better way to spend a December evening than cruising around a London Ice Rink and follow it up with a mulled wine and mince pice! My personal favourites are Somerset House ( https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/skate-somerset-house ) and Natural History Museum ( http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/ice-rink.html ) at under £20 for the hour. It's a small fee to surround yourself with other Christmas spirits, wrapped up in gloves and scarves, gliding upon the rink to old time classics (the occasional double leg split and grip upon the edge) and exercise the legs, holding that half squat position for the duration of the sessions- core tight for balance.. Fitness fanatics eat your heart out! The quick movements in the legs allow for strengthening of the knees and leg muscles and in turn engaging and toning of the entire lower body. And don't underestimate your endurance- ice skating is an hour of continuous aerobic workout, providing you skate constantly! But this allows for a consistent rise in the heart rate and therefore a significant calorie burn. And if this plethora of benefits were not enough, let's not forget mental health benefits of such a feel good activity, the fresh air and cool conditions of outdoor skating allow the mind to breathe, relieving stress and clearing your head of external work-related pressures in the most idyllic of settings in the preparation of Father Christmas' arrival! Did someone mention St. Nick? 

 

Santacon

By definition- Light-hearted fun. Santacon has no purpose aside from being a good laugh for those who are willing to share festive cheer. If you haven't heard of it, you may have seen it! Santacon is a 5km race in Clapham that sees thousands of ho ho ho-ers running the streets of SW dressed in the finest red and white suits like he big man himself. No it is not serious, no there are no race numbers, no you are not trying to make a PB along the course, it is purely for a coming together to celebrate Christmas. It is totally free to attend but some costs incur to run the event and often a small fee may apply to officially enter! But this really is a serious, well-run event that has been around since San Fransisco's 1994 debut! But don't underestimate this as a fitness event- just because there is dress-up doesn't distract from its 5km substance. If you needed to distract your way to a 5km run, this is certainly the way to do it!

Find more details here, but unsurprisingly the chilled vibe of such an event means they are yet to set a date, however, traditionally we are looking at a Mid-December Sunday. 

https://www.santacon.info 

And if red isn't your colour.... 

 

Penguin Waddle

Last year's attempt at a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of human penguins was a huge success with several thousands of people lining the streets of London for a 2km Waddle- yes the waddle is mandatory, don't overlook this taxing exercise on the legs! it's been an annual charity event for Richard's House Hospice and whilst it is not yet publicised for a 2017 race, keep your eyes open, its bound to be a fantastic Penguinning to the festive Season! 

 

Serpentine Christmas Day Swim!

That's right. On Christmas Day. It is a members only event (there's the get out of jail free card!) But spectators are welcome always, and there is plenty of time to join the Serpentine Swimming Club and get our lengths in for the big day! And if that level of commitment is slightly ambitious then Hyde Park provides quite the perfect setting for a Christmas Day walk and an encouraging onlook at the swimmers keeping up the festive tradition braving the Ivey conditions! An event that has grown since its 1864 opening! 

https://www.visitlondon.com/things-to-do/event/10716901-peter-pan-cup#ohj6HYyVZLPXdmZE.97

 

So why not see what you can get involved in to spice up your winter workout! Let the above ideas inspire you this Christmas season and whilst I'm absolutely more than on board for the overindulgence and compromise on the fitness, adding in these elements of festive fun to your December will- I assure you- make the lead up to new year a little more merry and bright and the weight loss resolutions a little more ho ho hopeful!