Most of us start off the new year with bold plans to eat healthily and exercise more... plans that are usually out of the window within a couple of weeks. But if you can find a different way to exercise you are less likely

to get bored. With gyms closed for the foreseeable future, we could do with some alternative methods to keep fit. Here are some of the best.

Go rollerblading

When you think of rollerblading, you might picture nervous children with elbow and knee pads wobbling around like Bambi. But it’s time to banish those images from your mind, as rollerblades are now the accessory of choice for those aiming to look cool while keeping fit. Sales of roller skates surged during lockdown as people looked for a fun way to exercise locally (while maintaining a safe social distance) and the sport has now become popular across all age groups. However, while undeniably enjoyable, rollerblading can be dangerous, so make sure to wear a helmet and plan your route carefully in advance, avoiding steep descents or rough terrain until you are more confident on your skates. Try your local skate park, or a quiet car park (the surroundings of the Riverside Museum in Glasgow prove to be a particularly popular spot) to get the hang of it. From there, the world is your oyster…

Take your dog for a run

With dog ownership soaring throughout 2020, there’s lots more of us out walking our four-legged friends across Scotland. But rather than just taking your dog for a walk, why not try bringing them along for a run? It will undoubtedly make your jog more interesting, plus it’s a great way to

let your dog burn off some of their boundless energy and tire themselves out. You can get special bungee leads that attach round your waist, or else you can just hold their lead in your hand, but it is important to build up your distances slowly to help you both get used to the practicalities of running together. Bear in mind you will inevitably have to stop to let them go to the toilet, so don’t plan to beat your personal best while you’ve got your dog in tow, and remember to give them time to cool down and drink water afterwards. Some breeds aren’t suited to running at all – such as Pugs or Bulldogs – and you shouldn’t attempt to jog with puppies younger than 12 months because it can damage their growing joints.

Try wild swimming

Scotland has no shortage of bodies of water. Whether it’s the 30,000 lochs and lochans spread across the country or our 11,000 miles of coastline, there’s plenty of choice for those looking to try their hand at wild swimming. Yet it is definitely not for the faint-hearted. The shock of the water temperature at this time of year can be extreme, so wear a wetsuit and don’t stay in the cold water for long periods unless you are a pro. Make sure to bring someone with you as well, even if only watching from the shore, to help in case of emergency, making sure to choose a safe spot without a dangerous current. Once you have established sufficient safety protocols, you can enjoy the exhilarating rush (not to mention the great views) that come with Scottish wild swimming.

Do a HIIT workout on YouTube

After the first lockdown, we lost our collective enthusiasm for the Joe Wicks YouTube workouts that had soundtracked our springtime. But with another lockdown now in force, and the winter weather making outdoor exercise less attractive, YouTube home workouts are looking appealing once more. There’s no shortage of options to choose from, but those who live in a flat might prefer to go for a 15-minute burst of high-intensity interval

training (HIIT) to avoid sending their neighbours mad with the noise. It might not sound like much, but a short HIIT session can burn some serious calories and leave your muscles aching for days. There’s no excuse about being too busy either – who can’t spare 20 minutes or so when there is nothing else to do with your time at the moment?

Try a walking meeting

Many of us will be returning to work over the next few days after a chunk of time off over the festive period. With home working still the norm for most, it can be tempting to continue the Christmas pattern of sitting on the sofa and reaching for the biscuit tin at regular intervals. But just because working from home makes it easy to

sit around all day, it doesn’t mean you should. Instead, try a walking meeting (in person or while on the phone), where you keep moving for the duration of your meeting, getting some much-needed fresh air as well as a fresh perspective on key issues. It is certain to boost your all-important step count for the day, too. However, keep your camera switched off if you are on a video call to avoid giving the participants any motion sickness!

Try an online Boxcercise workout, various locations across Scotland

Living through a pandemic can be stressful, so why not take the chance to punch your stress away – while keeping fit- at a Zoom Boxcercise class. The classes are based on the training methods

used by boxers, but hitting focus pads rather than opponents, while also shadow-boxing, skipping and kicking. It is open to all ages, sexes and fitness levels and offers fun, challenging and safe workouts that will gradually improve physical fitness. Crucially, Boxcercise is also excellent for releasing aggression and helping cope with the daily demands on your mental health. With physical classes made difficult by Covid restrictions, many local Boxcercise instructors are now offering classes via Zoom: just head to their website and put in your postcode to see what’s available near you. Prices vary depending on instructor. See to find your nearest class.

Take some resistance bands to the park

They might be small in size, but resistance bands can make a big difference to your workout. You can pick up a pack of assorted sizes for around £15 online, then simply take them to your local park or outdoor space. There’s an array of potential exercises you can find online, but some of the best involve attaching the bands to a lamppost, tree or picnic bench and then working out your upper body. Then, wrap the bands around your ankles or your thighs to work your lower body and activate your glutes.

Invest in a turbo trainer for cycling indoors

Lots of us re-discovered a love for cycling during the initial stages of lockdown. But with the Scottish winter now fully upon us, harsh weather condition mean many cyclists have packed their bikes away and lost a bit of momentum in the process. Investing in a turbo trainer, therefore, means you can keep up your cycling from the comfort of your home:

simply attaching your bike on to the turbo and turning up the resistance as you see fit. Basic versions start from about £80, but you can go all out with a smart turbo that links up to your phone or other tech.

Turn Television viewing into exercise

Let’s face it, we’ve all been watching a lot of television recently, so why not turn that telly time into something positive, by incorporating exercise into watching your favourite shows? Try holding a squat or a 90-degree wall sit (keeping your back flat against the wall while your hips and knees form a right angle with the floor) for as long as you can while watching TV – it’s a great way to gradually build lower body strength. Alternatively, try doing a few push-ups during the advertising breaks, or holding a plank for the duration of a particular scene. Build it up slowly and you will soon be feeling the benefits.

Get into yoga

Yoga doesn’t always seem like it is particularly effective when it comes to getting fit, but as well as the obvious benefits for your mental wellbeing, yoga is great for improving your strength, balance and flexibility. It can also reduce inflammation and improve your heart health and, best of all, it is easy and cheap to give it a go. Buy a yoga for beginners book, download a podcast or a yoga app and you are all set.