Christmas is a time to relax, let our hair down and enjoy time with our family and friends over the festive period. Even those who follow the strictest of training regimes and tightest nutrition plans will allow themselves a little downtime to re-charge the batteries.

However for those fitness enthusiasts who want to maintain their levels of fitness, Christmas is not a time to completely throw cation to the wind. Don’t think that come the 1st of January some magical force is going to focus and motivate us into achieving our unrealistic New Year’s resolutions…especially if we have over indulged and let our activity levels drop.

In reality the easiest way to guarantee you don’t fall off the treadmill is to ensure that you keep up some form of movement through the festive period, even if what you choose to do is different from your normal routine. As it’s the time of year when you are more likely to spend more time with family and friends why not exercise together; there’s nothing more traditional than a family winter walk on Boxing Day. Or if you are heading into the early New Year sales (that usually start around Boxing Day) what not give ice skating a go. Most large towns and cities have a rink erected as part of the seasonal celebrations.

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Or what about a Christmas or New Year challenge or fun run? There are usually plenty of charity fun runs or Santa dashes with more and more events cropping up all the time! Or for those of us who live near to a water park what about an open water swim – brrrr!

There really are so many options…what about a family bike ride. Stockport is home to plenty of green spaces and the fantastic Trans Pennine trail.

Or you could keep up your gym/fitness routine and visit your nearest sports or leisure facility. It is a notoriously quiet time of year, so you’ll probably be able to pick up a special offer and have quieter facilities. And when you are in the gym, why not get some extra advice from your local gym instructor, they’ll be more than happy to help you stay on track or even get you ready for a new challenge or goal for the New Year…not to mention a bit of company! Christmas gyms can be a lonely place!

Tips to get you active over the festive break (3)

But if you really can’t make it out or to the gym the best exercises to do at home are bodyweight ones like squats, lunges, crunches, press ups and tricep dips on the edge of a chair or bed. You could try doing a set of crunches or squats during the adverts of a programme or film you are watching. Have a chat with your fitness instructor or personal trainer in advance of the festive period and they will be able to suggest a programme appropriate to your needs and fitness levels.