Workout: Cardiologist on the health benefits of walking
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You may not be sticking to your intense fitness and exercise regime over Christmas and New Year, but there’s no need to totally fall off the bandwagon. Health expert and personal trainer Matt Hodges exclusively told Express.co.uk that there is only one exercise people need to do in order to avoid gaining too much weight – and it’s easier than you think.
Matt told Express.co.uk: “Many of us will be spending the Christmas week up to New Year lounging out at home or couch surfing with friends and relatives.”
Drinking and eating become the main social activities available with countless Christmas parties and meeting up with everyone you know.
What’s more, with the weather being cold and the festivities leaving many of us hungover, the exercise regimes we’ve honed throughout the year often go out the window.
A combination of eating more and moving less cannot be a positive for your waistline, according to the expert.
He explained: “This means that daily exercise will take a battering and I very much doubt that people will hit a 10,000-step marker on the day.
“The drop in energy expenditure and increase in energy consumption can, biologically, only go one way.
“And that way, is your waistline auditioning for the role of Santa or Mrs Claus.”
But while the odds are slightly stacked against us at Christmas, there is a way to make it to the New Year without having packed on the pounds.
Matt asked: “So how can we get the best from this cosy, fireside, nostalgic film, Baileys at 11am, food coma inducing slump?”
Despite being a personal trainer, Matt doesn’t suggest you hit the gym daily or even try to match your January – November fitness and diet plans.
But you can still do a little bit to help yourself even whilst enjoying all that Christmas has to offer.
“The key here, again, is prep, but this time its exercise prep. You don’t need to be Mo Farah at Christmas, there doesn’t need to be any long runs, any gym sessions or HIIT workouts at home.
“You just need to get some mileage in before the day starts.
“And what I mean by ‘day starts’ is the first thing you do as you wake up.
“Get up, get your boots on, go for a walk…a long walk, a walk that builds up a sweat. Why? Claus I said so, that’s why!
“No, but seriously, it’ll set your body up for the day, you’ll burn through a tonne of calories consumed the day before, and it’ll make you feel better about the day ahead.”
Matt continued: “I know this might sound so blatantly obvious, but it all WORKS!”
Walking can be a social, family activity or can be done with friends, so there is no need to forgo your festive socialising even when exercising.
It’s also great in that it’s accessible to most people, not too draining, is entirely free and doesn’t require any equipment.
What’s more, depending on your fitness levels or how much you want to push yourself, your daily walk can be made easier or harder with a few small modifications.
You can make your walk harder by speeding up, adding an incline, varying terrain or even using walking poles to work your upper body.
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