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Don't kid yourself: easy ways to burn Christmas kilos

HERE'S a crucial Christmas tip: Do not kid yourself.

It is a given that, between now and the time we make regretful New Year resolutions, we will all indulge a little. Or maybe a lot.

There are ways to reduce the damage from the extras we eat and drink over Christmas, but it's also important to increase our activity levels to match our food input.

With the disturbing news that Queensland is Australia's heaviest state, a bit of fun festive season exercise is in order.

Life today tends to make us all less active - most of us spend a lot of time sitting at home or at a desk all day at work. And there are (thankfully) so many things to make life easier around the house that even housework is less vigorous.

But small things like going some more work around the home or walking around while you're on the phone can make a difference - it all counts towards extra activity.

As Chief Health Officer Dr Jeannette Young said: "Overwhelmingly the evidence points to Queenslanders eating too much of the wrong food and moving too little. And Queenslanders have a much distorted view of their weight, particularly as big, bigger and huge is now our norm … there is still too much sedentary behaviour."

But you don't need to sign up to a gym and hurt yourself doing exercise you hate - you just need to find some activity that you enjoy, and do it regularly.   If you're unsure about your ability to exercise, speak to your GP. 

These videos can help: choose your level (beginner, low-intensity and moderate intensity) and give it a go.

This one's for beginners

This one's low intensity:

This is moderate intensity:

Short of time? Here are some routines that take only five minutes.

Here are some more ideas:

  • Take the stairs rather than the lift
  • Walk around while you're talking on the phone
  • Take public transport or walk or cycle to work instead of taking the car
  • Do some vigorous gardening
  • Sign up for group activities like dancing classes (pay in advance - that will help motivate you to make sure you get your money's worth
  • Stop meeting for coffee - meet in the park for a Frisbee throwing session, or grab a bottle of water and go for a walk together.
  • Choose an activity that's right for you and make sure it's something you enjoy, or go for something different you've always wanted to try.
  • Choose a time that's right for you - one that you can stick to regularly. 
  • Choose a team sport or find a buddy to share your activity with. It's much easier to keep it up if you're motivating each other!
  • Set a goal and work towards it - make it a realistic, short-term goal and reward yourself when you get there.
  • Praise yourself for your hard work and concentrate on your successes.

If you do slip up, don't dwell on it. Remember that you spent a lot of time developing unhealthy habits, so it's going to take a while to change these to healthier habits.

And here's a helpful hint when you start a new activity: Don't expect to be good at it straight away. You'll get better at it, as long as you remember to have fun.

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