Christmas Day walks in London 2022: Expert reveals top tips for exercising outside during winter

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As fitness experts give their tips for outdoor exercising over Christmas, Londonworld takes a look at some of the best places for that post-Christmas Dinner walk.

Strange as it may be, there are some people in London who like nothing more than to go for a walk after a Christmas meal. Some even will take their brand new fitness gadgets they got for Christmas and start their new year’s resolutions early.

Matthew Magnante, an exercise author at FitnessVolt, has brought together a series of tips for exercise enthusiasts to make their winter workouts a whole lot safer during the treacherous conditions London may face over the colder months.

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“Many may not realise this, but we are at an elevated risk of dehydration when exercising in colder temperatures” Magnante writes. “When it is cold, our blood vessels constrict to reduce the amount of heat lost through our skin, as a way of maintaining our core body temperature. To prevent dehydration, continue to drink water as you would during summer and opt for a glass of water before heading out and continue to sip on a drink throughout and after your workout.”

The fitness expert also stresses the importance of cutting an exercise session in half; “Running on snow and ice engages different muscles to running on dry ground, due to the reduced friction and uneven surfaces. Consequently, you are likely to put yourself at risk of injury if you try to complete your regular running distance without first adapting to the new conditions.”

“A good rule of thumb when running on icy routes is to halve your regular running distance until you have adapted to running on slippery or uneven surfaces. Allow yourself 4-6 weeks of regularly running on snow or icy terrain, before you start to build back up to your regular running distance.”

Runners should also opt for polyester shirts over cotton shirts, as cotton is highly absorbent which means that as you sweat the material tends to stay wet rather than drying out. Water conducts heat away from the body up to 25 times faster than air, which means you will lose body heat much more quickly in colder temperatures and increase your risk of developing hyperthermia.

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Stretching before and after exercise is also crucial at this time of year, as muscles tend to contract to conserve heat, which makes them more prone to injury. But above all else, let someone know that you are planning on going for a jog and where you will be going.

“For iPhone users, you can temporarily enable location sharing on the Find My app which will enable family, friends or your partner to track your location should you slip and injure yourself while exercising on ice or snow.”

The five best parks to walk in during Christmas

Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.  (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park.  (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

For Londoners who are looking for somewhere to go for a jog on Christmas Day, or an idyllic walk on a crisp morning or evening in the capital, Londonworld has consulted Tripadvisor for the ten best London Parks for walking during the winter months (visitor ratings in brackets).

  1. Hyde Park, Kensington (4.5/5) 
  2. St. James Park, Westminster (4.5/5)
  3. Regent’s Park, Kings Cross (4.5/5)
  4. Kensington Gardens, Kensington (4.5/5)
  5. Greenwich Park, Greenwich (4.5/5)
  6. Hampstead Heath, Hampstead (4.5/5)
  7. Holland Park, Kensington (4.5/5)
  8. Primrose Hill, Kings Cross (4.5/5)
  9. Green Park, Mayfair (4.5/5)
  10. Battersea Park, Battersea (4.5/5)
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