Most of us start off the new year with bold plans to eat healthily and exercise more... plans which 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 and, with gyms closed for the foreseeable future, we could do with some alternative methods to keep fit. Here’s some of the best.

Tackle a hill climb

Scotland is renowned for its collection of breathtaking hills and Munros, with Munro-bagging becoming particularly popular during the summer as foreign holidays were swapped for Scottish staycations.

But unless you are lucky enough to have a Munro in your council area, the current Tier 4 restrictions mean that climbing one isn’t currently allowed.

Yet that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the health benefits, both mental and physical, that come from a hill climb. There’s plenty of smaller hills (more doable for most of us) that are dotted around the country, including North Berwick Law in East Lothian, Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh, Conic Hill in Balmaha, Ben A’an in the Trossachs, Criffel Hill in Dumfries, Bennachie in Aberdeenshire, Gouk Hill in Helensburgh, Duncolm in Old Kilpatrick… we could go on.

Try pole dancing at Pole Place, Glasgow

2/4 Victoria Chambers,

142 West Nile Street, Glasgow

Admittedly, pole dancing doesn’t have the greatest of reputations. But in recent years, it has developed a new fanbase among fitness fanatics who have discovered the excellent workout that a pole can offer. It burns calories, helps develops strong bones (while avoiding putting pressure on your joints) and strengthens your core and key muscles.

This Glasgow studio offers group classes or private lessons, depending on your confidence and level of fitness.

But if you are still unsure, then head to a taster session – which lets you try out Pole Fitness before you commit to a course or private lessons.

They are currently closed until mid-January, due to Tier 4 restrictions, but are taking bookings for six-week beginner courses that start at the end of this month.

Make a conscious effort to take the stairs

This one sounds incredibly simple, but taking the stairs more often can make a noticeable difference to your fitness.

It can improve your aerobic capacity, bone density, cholesterol and help you to gradually lose weight, all without setting foot in a gym.

If you live in a flat, the obvious change would be to use the stairs rather than a lift, but you can also opt for the stairs in your workplace, while out on a walk, or in any other capacity you can.

There’s plenty of stair-workouts you can try too.

Find a local military-style bootcamp

While some people are able to drag themselves out of bed for an early-morning jog, others find it much more difficult to self-motivate when it comes to exercise. If you fall into the latter, you are likely to benefit from a military-style bootcamp, where you will be given no room for slacking or taking it easy.

There are various different bootcamps across the country, but most will offer a combination of high-energy exercises in a group setting, led by a no-nonsense instructor.

The best bit is that these outdoor bootcamps are one of the few fitness classes allowed to remain open under Covid-19 restrictions (albeit with limited numbers), perfect for those who are really serious about getting fit. A quick internet search should bring up a local option near you- the Military Fit bootcamp in Glasgow’s Rouken Glen Park is a particularly popular choice.

Dance around

The average person will burn up to 800 calories per hour of dancing. But as well as being an efficient form of exercise, dancing is ultimately great fun and you might not even notice you are burning calories at all.

We can’t go out dancing in the way we might like due to the pandemic, but you can still dance around at home: using interactive consoles, YouTube

videos, or simply putting on music and freestyling around your living room.

Get kids involved too, to add some extra energy to your dancing.

Go mountain biking

The wet, muddy terrain that is ever-present at this time of year isn’t exactly conducive to an enjoyable cycle. But when it comes to mountain biking, the mud only makes it more enjoyable. There’s lots of trails to try out across Scotland, most of them free, with some of the best being Tentsmuir Forest in Fife, Pollok Park in Glasgow, Glentress near Peebles and the Moray Monster Trails near Fochabers.

Just make sure to tackle the appropriate level for your ability and wear suitable protective gear.

Get involved in a Green Gym

Green Gyms aim to improve people’s health and wellbeing while also helping the environment. Volunteers, guided by experienced leaders, will engage in regular sessions of useful activities: making bat boxes, cutting back undergrowth, planting trees and flowers.

And, while your local area inevitably benefits, you do too, with improved fitness and the chance to learn practical skills. There are currently Green Gyms in Ayr, Cranhill, Cumbernauld, Barrhead, Gartnavel, Inverness, Kilwinning,

Falkirk, Grangemouth, Coatbridge and Tollcross. Head to their website to find out how you can take part.

Try out Freedom of Flight, Edinburgh

Suspending yourself from the ceiling using a silk rope is a pretty fun way to keep fit. And that’s exactly what is on offer at Freedom of Flight, in Edinburgh, where you can practise aerial arts and circus skills to build strength and flexibility.

Their studio is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions but, fear not, a special “Floorial” course is being offered until the studio is allowed to reopen.

This involves live online classes, conducted over Zoom, which aim to boost flexibility and balance in preparation of trying out the ropes for real when restrictions are lifted.

Use some outdoor gym equipment

Just because the gyms are shut, it doesn’t mean you can’t use gym equipment. Plenty of parks across Scotland have free outdoor gym equipment installed for anyone to

use, with a variety of options to work out different parts of your body.

Be sure to bring hand gel, though, and use it after each piece of equipment, and respect any Covid-related closures that are in place.

Try out martial arts

The health benefits of martial arts are extensive: improved reflexes, better flexibility, stronger muscles, lowered blood pressure and weight loss.

Yet it isn’t a hugely high-intensity exercise and can be practised by people of all ages and abilities, with very little equipment required.

Getting to a class in person is difficult at the moment due to Covid-19 restrictions but, even if you are a complete beginner, you can still practise martial arts from home.

There are Wikihow articles, YouTube videos, online tutorials and plenty of literature that will teach you the basics of karate, taekwondo, judo, kung fu or even mixed martial arts.

Once you’ve got the hang of it from home, you’ll be well-placed to join a class once the lockdown rules are eased.