Hitting the stores instead of the gym, can still help you stay toned and trim in the lead-up to Christmas.

During the festive season, shopping will probably be high on your agenda; from gift buying to stocking up on food, you’re probably never far away from the tills at this time of year. Although your wallet might not be happy about it, your body certainly can be as there are some surprising health benefits to a spot of retail therapy. You can burn an impressive 400 calories – equivalent to two large glasses of wine – during an average shopping trip and notch up more than 7,000 steps roaming around town. In essence, shopping is more of a workout than you might think!

From carrying heavy bags to weaving in and out of the crowds, shopping is a fantastic form of exercise for both your cardiovascular fitness and strength.

So, why not ramp up your next spree by incorporating some of our expert tips – a few weeks of hitting the high street and you’ll be fitter than ever!

Walk the walk

If you have to drive to the shops, park your car as far away from the entrance as you can and return your trolley to the furthest bay when you go back to your car. You’ll be amazed how many more steps this seemingly short distance can add on!

Take the stairs

Where possible, avoid the lift and the escalators and always take the stairs. If you have to take an escalator, walk up it to tone your legs and increase your heart rate.

Tighten your waist with weights

When doing the food shop, ditch the trolley and opt for baskets – two at a time so they act as weights. Then carry your shopping home in large bags with comfortable handles. Keep your shoulders back and stand upright to avoid backache. Walking with weights really helps strengthen your core muscles, especially your obliques.

Read the December  issue of Top Santè for more tips!