Christmas is a period best known for over indulgence. With so much fantastic food around, it can be hard to resist.

[Read more: How to beat the bloat: 8 ways to a flat tummy this Christmas]

We found out the best ways to work out to avoid the winter weight gain.

1. Family fun

Treat the family to an ice skating trip or take it inside for bicep-boosting bowling. And don't forget front-room fitness - set a skipping challenge or having a laugh at the latest fitness apps.

It all beats snoozing in front of the box.

2. Dance the night away

Rocking around the Christmas tree is not to be underestimated.

Whether you're larging it to Little Mix or swaying with Sinatra, the fact is, dancing burns up to 400 calories an hour.

The faster you're moving, the more you're ducking and diving and, of course, the longer you're going for, the more calories you'll burn.

3. Walk it off

Bone-boosting, calorie-burning and, if you walk fast enough, fitness-enhancing, winter walking is the way forward.

To burn off a mince pie, you need to go on a four-mile walk (make it six if you're adding cream).

To offset the calories in a glass of Bailey's, you'd need to swim for 20 minutes, while for the Christmas dinner itself, you're looking at a 10-mile run.

Make a dent in dinner calories by practising intervals on your walk. Walk at a moderate pace for 30 seconds, then speed up for one minute. Slow down for 30 seconds, then repeat.

If you have hills on your route, so much the better - these add a further fitness challenge and really work the legs too.

[Read more: Christmas gifts for fitness fanatics]

4. Practise incidental exercise

No time to lace your trainers? Try incidental exercise throughout the day.

Studies have found you burn an extra 42 calories an hour standing, while easy-to-implement balance exercises challenge your core.

Draw your stomach back towards your spine, gently clench buttocks and come up onto toes. Hold for a count of three, lower and repeat.

Or try standing on one leg to brush your teeth or while you're in the supermarket queue - you'll be pleasantly surprised at the results.

5. Shop 'til you drop

Covering miles trying to find the perfect pressie is great news for your health.

Taking the stairs and walking up escalators instead of using the lift has untold health benefits: you burn around 0.17 calories per stair, while taking steps two at a time boosts calorie-burn further and works bum and thighs a treat.

Carrying bags (make sure you distribute them evenly) is a good workout for biceps and shoulders too.

6. Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Lugging a Christmas tree home, setting it up and decorating it is a mini-workout.

Squat to the floor to hang low baubles, hold a calf raise as you put the angel on the top and practise as much squatting and lunging as you can as you move furniture and hoover up pine needles.