Beat the Christmas bulge by avoiding the gym and opting for an outdoor fitness activity

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The Sloaney’s Editor, Laura Toogood, is steering clear of the gym this month but suggests some helpful alternatives for those jumping on the New Year fitness bandwagon… 

I have yet to stand on my scales in 2012. In fact, this year I am abstaining from my usual post-Christmas weigh-in as I don’t need to see a number to know that last month’s indulgences are sitting steadfastly on my hips. Opting for leggings over jeans – purely for the comfort factor – is enough of a reminder that my waist needs to retract as quickly as it expanded following the festive feasts.

Wining and dining is fun and effortless, but losing those excess pounds is quite the opposite. After a six-month stint in the gym several years ago, I now dread the sight of a treadmill. Running inanely like a mouse, whilst watching the calorie number creep up painfully slowly on the machine, only serves as a depressing reminder of the penance you have to pay for that one single truffle.


To avoid the gym this January, I am opting for outdoor workouts. Fresh air and a variety of exercise will surely help my focus, motivation and shift that Christmas tummy in time for my February weigh-in. At which point, I hope not to faint on the scales.

For those looking to avoid the gym and join my January fitness buzz, here are some outdoor activities to help us get into shape for the Olympic year ahead.



With many of Britain’s cities adopting a cycle friendly attitude, there is no better time to hop on your bike and incorporate a workout into your daily routine.  Cycling has lots of benefits; it is environmentally friendly, considerate to those who are saving this month and a great way to skip the traffic jams. So, leave your car at home and jump on your bike at every opportunity – the pounds will be falling off with every pedal.



The old-favourite for burning calories, running or jogging is undoubtedly an effective method of toning up. Less experienced runners may find it easier to start by mixing power-walking with stints of jogging. By gradually reducing the walk intervals, before you know it, you will be well on the way to entering a 10k race.


Hill Walking

For those who are averse to running, hill walking is an effective way of regaining your pre-Christmas figure. Although you may need to walk for a longer period of time to get quick results, tackling hills in the British countryside will work wonders on your thighs and bottom.


Horse Riding

If you haven’t tried it before, 2012 is the perfect time to take up a new hobby. Although horse riding is not a particularly effective cardio workout, it is nevertheless fantastic for improving your posture, toning your tummy and developing core strength.

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