‘Tis the season to be merry – and with the steady stream of office parties, get-togethers and festive feasting, it’s not only our social calendars that can get a little extra padding at this time of the year.
According to Nutrition Australia, Australians put on an average of 0.8 – 1.5kg over the Christmas period.
But with a bit of planning, you can have a happy and healthy Christmas and make sure you don’t abandon your exercise regime over the holidays.
Here’s six ways you can stay active over the Christmas period:
1. Swap the bar for the barre
Try catching up with friends over an exercise class at the gym instead of getting together for drinks. Chances are your mates are also feeling the effects of overindulging in Christmas meals with all the trimmings.
Several fitness centres in Ipswich offer Barre classes – make it your new years resolution to try it out in 2020.
If you’re not into the gym, arrange to meet up with a friend for a walk or jog along the Bremer at River Heart Parklands and have a chat while you move your body.
Or make a plan to do classes together when the Active Parks program resumes after the school holidays on 28 January.
2. Cool off with a swim
If you can’t face pounding the pavement in the heat, take your workout to the water.
There are plenty of pools across Ipswich to do some laps, from Goodna Aquatic Centre to Georgie Conway Leichardt Community Swim Centre.
Or if you need to stretch out aching limbs, take a plunge in Springfield’s Orion Lagoon.
Click here to check public holiday opening hours over the Christmas and New Year period.
3. Run into 2020
If you’re super-keen, get up early on Christmas morning for a 5km dash around White Rock and burn some calories before you enjoy a long Christmas lunch.
The Christmas Day Parkrun is on at White Rock and Greenbank at 7am.
There’s also a Parkrun at White Rock on Near Year’s Day if you want to start 2020 off on the right foot.
Click here for details and to find out where your nearest Parkrun is.
There’s also plenty of local running groups to get involved with in the New Year across the city.
If you’re an experienced bushwalker or trail runner, some of the best trails are found at Flinders Goolman Conservation Estate, with expansive views of surrounding mountain ranges and plenty of nature and wildlife.
Trails vary in length and difficulty, so it’s recommended you do your homework before setting out and take plenty of water.
Trails are located at Harding’s Paddock (Carmichael’s Rd, Purga) and Flinders Plum (Mt Flinders Rd, Peak Crossing).
The Flinders Peak Hiking Trail is another iconic Ipswich experience for more physically fit walkers. As it’s quite challenging, it is only suitable for well-equipped and experienced hikers with rock scrambling skills.
4. Go for a ride
Got a new bike for Christmas? Ipswich has some of the best trails in the region.
Head out to Castle Hill Blackstone Reserve, which has over 15 International Mountain Biking Association rated trails, ranging from easy to very difficult.
Or get a group of friends together and explore the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail (BVRT) which starts at Wulkuraka Station.
Officially the longest rail trail in Australia, the 161km route follows the disused Brisbane Valley rail line that commenced construction at Wulkuraka in Ipswich in 1884 and was completed at Yarraman in 1913.
Some sections of the BVRT can be quite challenging and mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes are recommended
5. HIIT it this Christmas
An influx of family and visitors over the Christmas break often means there’s not much time for exercise.
But you don’t need to do a long workout to feel the benefits.
Try downloading a fitness app and get your heart rate up in under 10 minutes. Or get back into your gym. Most fitness centres offer HIIT style classes.
If you’re feeling extra festive, create your own Christmas cardio playlist and work out to carols.
6. Play in the park with the family
From Queens Park to River Heart Parklands and Robelle Domain, there’s plenty of local playgrounds to explore around Ipswich to suit children of all ages.
Take the kids for a play at the huge million-dollar adventure playground at Orion Springfield Central.
If you have any young aeroplane fans, head to Churchill’s Lobley Park. The playground features a huge cargo plane with a cockpit, parachute swings, a rope climbing wall and an airport control tower.
Other lesser known playgrounds around Ipswich include Battye Park in Brassall and Johnston Park in Rosewood, where huge trees provide a shade cover across the play equipment.