As summer rolls into frame and the temperature starts rising, we turn our attention to the busy Christmas rush. At this time of year, unhealthy temptations are everywhere you look. Candy canes and summery desserts fill supermarket shelves, and the Christmas party juggling act is usually associated with an abundance of drinks and nibbles. And that’s all before the big day. The season of eating is topped with a grand finale in the form of a Christmas day feast, one that will typically test the limits of your stomach, in all likelihood exceeding its capacity. Of course, it feels good on the day—a delicious Christmas lunch always does—but it all quickly adds up.
Research suggests Australians will find themselves at their heaviest during the summer months. The ‘silly season’ typically sees Aussies consume an extra 500 calories a day, which equates to about 0.5kg of weight gain after four days. On the 25th of December alone, the average person takes in a mammoth 6000 calories, a stark increase from the usual daily intake of 2000-3000. But hold on, do we really eat that much more around Christmas? To the health-conscious eye or calorie counting soul, that number must seem stratospheric. But it is accurate, and it’s easy to see where the extra calories come from when you take everything into consideration. With a more than healthy helping of alcoholic beverages, jumbo-sized lunches, topped off with sugary deserts and endless sweet treats to pick at, it’s not difficult to see where all the surplus comes from when you really think about it.
Let’s face it, gaining a few extra kilos around Christmas is almost inevitable. When letting your hair down over the holidays, clean eating and staying active can quickly take a back seat. Although challenging, the good news is that maintaining your summer bod during the festive season is still achievable—but you’ve got to work for it. We’ve rounded up the eight best forms of exercise to help you burn off—and keep off—the Christmas weight. Keep in mind that results will vary based on your age, weight and pre-existing fitness levels. These activities should also be performed in tandem with a healthy diet. Now get into it.
Running for 45 minutes
Hop on a treadmill or take to your local park. At a brisk pace of 9.7km/h, you’ll be able to burn off 500 calories in about 45 minutes.
Walking for 90 minutes
If you prefer a more leisurely approach to fitness, have a go at walking those calories off. A relaxed 5.6km/h pace for 90 minutes will do the trick. That is a lengthy walk though, so try heading offroad or set out on an incline, that will decrease the time to about 60 minutes.
Rowing for 45 minutes
Whether it’s on a machine or in a boat, rowing is a great way to burn calories quickly. With a single high intensity 45-minute session, you’ll be able to shed 500 calories.
Swimming for 1 hour
Swimming is one of the best exercises to target your full body. An hour of freestyle swimming, in a pool or in the ocean, will be enough to reach your calorie loss target—and you’ll be feeling the burn from your shoulders to your calves.
Skipping for 20 minutes
A surprisingly efficient way of burning calories is the simple act of jumping rope. A single high-intensity 20-minute session will do the job.
Cycling for 50 minutes
It’s time to hop on the old bike and get peddling. Just under an hour of cycling will get your calves pumping and will have the calories on the ropes.
Hit the gym for 75 minutes
While it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, or the most efficient method of burning calories, lifting weights can still get the job done, with the obvious added benefit of getting a superb pump going. Pumping iron will burn 500 calories in just over an hour, but you can shorten that time by minimising breaks between sets.
Boxing for 45 minutes
Get your gloves on! Simply put, boxing is a powerhouse when it comes to burning calories. Moderate to high-intensity boxing for 45 minutes is all you need, while it’s also a terrific way to relieve stress and anxiety.