Walk off the Christmas dinner!

OS festive walks

The Christmas festivities are one of the highlights of the Christmas period. But did you know even one small serving of cranberry sauce can contain as much as 45 calories? Add that to the turkey, roast potatoes, sausages, bacon, mince pies and stuffing and you could be adding another 2000 to 4000 calories to your daily intake.

Walking off these calories is not only an easy way to keep the calories at bay, it’s a good way for everybody to get together and take part in a group activity.

So how many calories can you walk off and where would you go?

The average person walking at 2 mph for one hour will burn off about 150 calories, if your walk is up hill that will burn off 350 calories over one hour and walking faster burns off even more. If you need incentives to keep you going, think of those mince pies, chocolates and alcoholic drinks adding those extra calories. Daily calorie requirements are 2000 calories for women and 2500 for men, therefore a minimum walk of three miles is ideal. This may seem like a long distance for some people, but by choosing an interesting walk with aspects for conversation, the walk will pass by quickly and pleasantly.

Use OS getamap – Ordnance Survey maps online to look up local walks in your area

  • Type the place or postcode into the box below. OS getamap will open showing you an online map for the area. You can change the map view by clicking the tabs in the top left of the screen, and zoom or pan to see more.
  • To see routes for the area select ‘Find routes’ on the left-hand menu.
  • To find more places and routes near you; use the search box within OS getamap.
  • Visit places of interest as part of your walk – click ‘Features’ on the left-hand menu.

Here’s some examples of how much you could burn off!
Royal Victoria Country Park
, Southampton: 3 miles using the Hamble Rail Trail and Solent Way. The trail passes through parkland and coastal heath offering plenty of sights and sounds. Wrap up warm and enjoy the sea air. Walking at about 3 mph this walk could burn off about 200 calories or one glass of mulled wine.

Ley Hill Walk, Chesham: 13 miles walking through Ley Green and Ley Hill and back to Chesham. The walk is suitable for dog-walkers too. Walking at 3 mph this walk could burn off up to 900 calories, that’s your Christmas dinner!

London Sights Walk, London: 8 miles walking from the Tower of London to Oxford Street, taking in the famous sights of London. Burn off 550 calories – that’s two slices of Christmas cake.

Bath to Keynsham along the Avon River, Bath: 7 miles walking along the river Avon through Bath and along the cycle track to Keynsham. Burn off 450 calories equivalent to two ‘pigs in blankets’.

Hockley Viaduct to Winchester Cathedral circular route, Winchester: 5 miles which includes a steep walk up to St Catherine’s Hill to take in the spectacular views of Winchester city and Twyford Down. There are stiles, but nothing a good pair of walking boots won’t handle. Although this walk is not particularly long at 5 miles, the changing conditions of the walk means you will burn more calories with climbing over stiles and walking at a gradient. This walk could easily burn off your Christmas dinner plus a mince pie!

Finchdean to Rowlands Castle, Hampshire: Just over 5 miles starting from the George in Finchdean. This is a moderate walk over some gentle hills but no steep walks so ideal for dog-walkers and families. The historical aspect of the walk means there is plenty to see on this circuitous route, for example Christchurch at Forestside and Rowlands Castle. A good hike will burn off just under 400 calories, so that will cover your dessert of choice.

West Marden to Stanstead Forest and Watergate Hanger, West Sussex: 5.5 miles of moderate walking makes this walk ideal for familes. Starting from West Marden the route takes you through the conservation area of Stanstead Forest, a good place to look out for deer. There are stiles to climb over, but most people can manage these and the ease of the walk will compensate for any climbing over stiles. At about 450 calories, you’ll definitely be able to enjoy a basic Christmas dinner.

Niton Waterfall Walk, Isle of Wight: 5 miles through a more secluded part of the Isle of Wight. This is a moderate walk through Niton, look out for the secluded lake and hidden waterfall. The excitement of finding the waterfall could help you burn off a few more calories, about 420 calories which means you won’t have to feel guilty about eating a slice of Christmas cake and a portion of the Yule Tide log!

Did you enjoy this article? It originally appeared on the Ordnance Survey magazine – read more articles here.

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