‘Tis The Season to Stay Active!

‘Tis The Season to Stay Active!

December 18, 2019

How to Stay Active Over Christmas

by our Sports Scientist Stephen Morehen

It’s December; the Christmas decorations are up and the work Christmas parties are in full swing. As well as this, the days are short, dark and cold. As such, getting to the gym might have slipped down your list of priorities. Don’t despair though, you can still get your workout in without even having to leave the comfort of your own home. Similarly, there are steps (literally) that you can take to attenuate the effects of high calorie food and drink which is so synonymous with the festive period.

Let’s start with home-based workouts; these can be great for those short of time or if you simply don’t fancy heading to the gym! The easiest way to put together your own home-based full body workout is to select a couple of exercises for upper body, lower body and core and combine these in a style that you prefer.

This could be a regular structure such as:

Home exercise at Christmas


(8-12 reps x 3 sets, 1 min rest between sets/exercises)
1. Push-ups
2. Squats
3. Lunges
4. Sit-ups
5. Mountain-climbers

Or, a HIIT structure where you perform each exercise as many times as you can in 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds and then move on to the next exercise, repeating for X amount of circuits.

Another way you can look to reduce potential unwanted weight gain over the festive-period is to take measures to affect how your body response to a high-fat meal. Post-prandial lipemia refers to the state of the body following a meal where there is an increased concentration of triglycerides (fat) in the body, as the ingested food is broken down into its macronutrients. It is during this state where excess fat is stored in adipose tissue which contributes to increased body fat and weight.

Research from Aldred, Perry & Hardman (1994) concludes that a single bout of low or moderate intensity exercise can elicit significantly lower levels of postprandial lipemia and as such attenuate potential fat-storage processes following an indulgent meal [1]. This finding is further corroborated by a quantitative review from Pettit & Cureton (2003) who conclude that post-meal exercise has a significant moderate effect on post-prandial lipemia [2]. What’s more, this effect is seen even when the exercise bout takes place over 12 hours before the meal! In simple terms, getting out for a brisk walk in anticipation a particularly indulgent meal can limit the negative effects of the high fat-content – time to take the dog out for a Christmas eve walk!

In summary, the festive period can be a tricky one when it comes to keeping on track with your exercise regime. Just because you’re not in a gym doesn’t mean you can’t be active though – getting inventive with your home workouts and getting the family out for a Sunday stroll before tucking into the treats can help you stay on track.


  1. ALDRED, H.E., PERRY, I.C. and HARDMAN, A.E., 1994. The effect of a single bout of brisk walking on postprandial lipemia in normolipidemic young adults. Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental, 43(7), pp. 836-841.
  2. PETITT, D.S. and CURETON, K.J., 2003. Effects of prior exercise on postprandial lipemia: A quantitative review. Metabolism – Clinical and Experimental, 52(4), pp. 418-424.

Get exclusive updates, articles and offers – direct to your inbox