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Top Tips on exercise over Xmas

Believe it or not, you can find a balance between festive treats and healthy choices in order to survive the Christmas celebrations.

Here are some fun and active ideas to enjoy over Christmas.

person walking over forest leaves


From beaches to mountains, rivers, and waterfalls; walking is far from a chore in our beautiful country – Wales.

Walking at a pace of 5mph could burn 544 calories per hour. Using walking poles, you could burn up to 46% more calories compared to walking without poles.

Slip some walking maps of Wales under the tree this Christmas, like Santa suggested, and give someone the push they need. Try some of the suggestions from the National Trust or Natural Resources Wales to get you started.

Man playing golf in front of building


How about walking around a golf course knocking balls about with your friends? You don’t always need to catch up with loved ones over food and drinks. Swing a club, have a laugh and let off some steam this Christmas.

There’s more to exercise than just physical health, after all. Golf is a great way to boost your mental wellbeing – unless you’re scoring too many triple bogeys, of course!

Check out Wales Golf for a place to play. Looking to play by the beach? Visit Wales list their favourite coastal courses here.

White ice skates

Ice Skating

The perfect exercise for Christmas? It must be Ice Skating. A sport that allows you to be active and festive all at the same time. Once you get the hang of the balancing part, you can expend a lot of energy on an ice rink and work muscles that aren’t usually worked – all while being Christmassy!

Try it out with the family at one of the Winter Wonderlands - or, at the home of Cardiff Devils in the south or at Deeside Leisure Centre in the north.

A couple dancing by a Christmas Tree

You don’t even need to venture out of your kitchen to burn some calories this Christmas. Celebrate by turning the volume up on those Christmas tunes and having a boogie with your family. 

Get down with the kids. We’re sure they won’t hesitate to teach you the latest TikTok crazes. You may look a little silly but laughs will be had and a sweat will be broken. 

Man cycling up mountain road


It’s the time of year when Santa brings plenty of bikes down the chimney. What better time to start changing habits and getting out for a ride?

Cycling is a low impact activity and one of the safest ways to exercise without risk of over-exertion or strain to muscles and joints.

Check out cycle charity Sustrans’ for all the safest routes on the National Cycle Network? Or, find alternatives such as BMX, mountain biking and cyclo-cross through Welsh Cycling 

Weight in living room in front of TV

Home Workout

The Welsh winter weather can often cause a washout to your outdoor exercise plans.

One thing the pandemic has shown is that we can be creative and exercise at home, without the need for expensive equipment. Whether it’s a circuit, a HIIT session or a bit of Pilates.

A 30-minute session could burn between 150 and 500 calories, depending on each person and how hard you work.

We’ve pulled together some sessions for you to try – from gentle to advanced.

Woman running in park


Running at a steady pace can burn up to 600 calories per hour, but if you’re new to running don’t try and run a marathon before you can a mile! Start out slowly by doing some interval running. Run for two minutes and then walk at a fast pace for one, repeat that seven times to get a 20 minute work-out and as you improve add an extra minute to your running time until you can run continuously without the need for the walk in between.

Make sure you’ve got some comfy kit, and appropriate footwear, and Wales is your oyster.

Join the free Parkrun community, or try Welsh Athletics for tips, ideas and challenges.

Table tennis equipment

Table Tennis

Before you dismiss table tennis as simply a spot of holiday ping pong, consider that speeds reach over 100 miles per hour.

You don’t need an expensive table. Getting going could be relatively cheap with a bit of imagination.

As a novice, you can gently loosen your muscles and improve mental concentration. As you improve, you can get your heart racing for a more strenuous workout.

Depending on your size and fitness you could burn up to 250 calories an hour. Haven’t got a table tennis? Get creative and make one at home.

Remember to exercise safely at all times, keep within your limits and make sure you're exercising to suit your own personal circumstances. 

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