BIKING FIT: South Burnett Mountain Bike Club members hit the rail trail.
BIKING FIT: South Burnett Mountain Bike Club members hit the rail trail. Tobi Loftus

Overindulging already?

HEALTH AND FITNESS: The Christmas period is known to be a time of overindulgence and great celebration.

According to Nutrition Australia, the average Aussie gains up to 1.5kg in the Christmas period.

But with an abundance of summer fruits and often more leisure time and loved ones around to get active with, it's the perfect time to improve your diet and physical activity levels.

In the South Burnett there is the opportunity to walk, run or ride on the rail trail or swim in one of the many public swimming pools in the region

Lori Hall is the manager and coach at Murgon Swimming Pool and enjoys an active Christmas with her family.

"I like to focus on spending quality time with my family rather than putting a big focus on the food, the cakes and the alcohol that comes with it,” she said.

Chris McMillan, chief executive officer of Cancer Council Queensland, echoed Hall's sentiments on festive food and said it was important to consider portion sizes.

"When so much food is on offer, it can be easy to overeat, so try to stop and enjoy what you're consuming,” she said.

"If you know you will want to finish everything in front of you, use an entree plate instead of a dinner plate.

"Also, vegetables and fruits should be a main element of whatever style of meal you choose for Christmas and can be served in a host of creative ways - think fruit platters using tree-shaped cutters and colourful salads.”

With high temperatures predicted for Christmas Day, it is important to stay hydrated and an easy way to do that is by limiting alcohol.

"To give your drink a flavour boost, add a squeeze of lemon or infuse water with fruit,” Ms McMillan said.

"Also, remember while drinking alcohol in moderation (one or two standard drinks a day) may add to the enjoyment of your festive events, over-consuming alcohol can lead to weight gain.”

To keep active, Hall suggests finding a friend and trying a variety of activities.

"Get someone to keep you accountable and increase the fun of it,” she said.

"Turn up at a lot of the classes and try something different each week to see if there is one you like, because a lot of times at gyms the first one is free.” .

McMillan said it was recommended all Queenslanders get moving on most - if not all - days of the week for optimum health.

She encouraged people to use the opportunity of having time off work to increase their physical activity.

"Head for a bike ride or play a game of backyard cricket at your Christmas or new year's gathering,” she said.

"Just make sure to stay SunSmart when outdoors.”

Claire Kapernick of Cloyner has discovered a love of running in the past eight years.

To motivate herself to start running, she set the goal of running the Bridge to Brisbane and started training 20 weeks out from the event.

Her husband is a keen runner and triathlete and acted as her coach, even running alongside her the first and second times she completed the event.

To those interested in increasing their activity going into the new year, Kapernick recommends to start slow.

"Get out there and start. Start slow and just move,” she said.

"For the first month, all I did was walk.”

She then started doing interval training to build up to running.

"I started running for 10 seconds and then I would walk for one minute 50 seconds,” she said.

"I can still remember the first time I ran for two minutes and I got such a buzz.”

Having finished the Bridge to Brisbane three times, Kapernick is now challenging herself to finish a half marathon at the Wondai Country Running Festival in June.

"I am going to have a go at a half marathon and my husband is looking at doing the full marathon,” she said.

"I am motivated because I have never done more than 10km before.”

Kapernick is a regular at the weekly Wondai Parkrun, where she has met other keen runners.

"I have met so many people doing Parkrun. It is all-abilities, from the sprinters to the ones that walk, and there is always coffee afterwards,” she said.

Kapernick stays active on her farm at Cloyna lifting hay bales and her family aims to have a healthy and active Christmas.

"My husband and I are making a conscious effort to eat healthy before Christmas,” she said.

"We will be swimming in the pool and there may be a Parkrun on New Year's Day which we will go to.”

McMillan said at least one-third of all cancer cases could be prevented through simple healthy lifestyle changes, including being active, eating well, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, staying SunSmart and taking part in cancer screening programs.

South Burnett

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