30/12/2010 05:01 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Exercise Outdoors To Burn More Calories

Exercising outdoors gives you a mood boost Exercising outdoors gives you a mood boost. Photo: Flickr, TrailVoice

Nobody could blame you for not feeling like getting out of the house and trudging off to the gym in the middle of winter. After all, it's got to be the most difficult time of year to motivate yourself. This year, however, The National Trust, has launched a month-long campaign to get the nation fit after the excesses of Christmas called The Great Outdoor Challenge.

One of the claims of the challenge is that exercising outdoors can help you burn up to a fifth more calories. Just five minutes worth of outdoor exercise every day can immediately boost your mood and self-esteem too. So you won't just shift those post-Christmas pounds but you'll beat the January blues too.

The 31-day plan has been devised by outdoor exercise specialists Eco Fitness, and is designed to help you kick start 2011 feeling energised and invigorated, rather than feeling bloated and with a massive hangover.

Outdoor workouts help you burn up to 20% more calories because your body has to work harder, thanks to all the natural, uneven surfaces you'll encounter (which also helps boost your balance and core strength). Being outdoors might also increase your levels of vitamin D - well, if it's a sunny day you may absorb some sunlight in your skin. And that not only helps improve your mood but keeps your bones strong too.

The plan can be followed in any outdoor space (even your back garden if you're lucky enough to have one big enough) and includes instructions on warming up and cooling down, along with a walking, jogging or running challenge for every day from January 1-31st.

Start now by downloading the plan from the National Trust website.

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