December and January are usually synonymous with an abundance of eating, a lack of exercise, and the flu. We want to encourage you to start this New Year on the right foot. The holidays are a time for celebration and family, not to put on weight and feeling ill. It’s almost as if we’ve come to accept that we are going to put on 10 pounds during each holiday season. (Believe it or not, weight gain and illness are linked. The worse the food you eat, the more likely you are to gain weight. This rich, sweet food also inflames your body; thereby restricting you immune system from fending off real threats: viruses. (But more on that in our next blog ☺)
Celebration doesn’t have to mean gluttonous eating, or deprivation for that matter. It’s time to bring the focus back to the purpose of the holiday. Enjoy your friends and family, the time off and the traditions of the holidays.
The holiday season might not be a time to lose weight, but it doesn’t have to be a time to lose your health. The key is to go into the holidays with a plan so you can focus on the important things; time with friends, family and your holiday traditions. Here are five ways to keep your health over the holidays.
Tip #1: Wash your hands often
Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps you can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Even if you tend to maintain hygiene, others may not. Wash your hands with soap and clean running water, and rub them together for at least 20 seconds. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Limit touching your face as much as possible.
Tip #2: Prevent injuries
Injuries can happen anywhere, and some often occur around the holidays. Use step stools instead of climbing on furniture when hanging decorations. Properly lifting with your legs and activating your core will do wonders for preventing lower back pain.
Most residential fires occur during the winter months. Keep candles away from children, pets, walkways, trees, and curtains. Never leave fireplaces, stoves, or candles unattended.
Tip #3: Eat healthy, and be active
With balance and moderation, you can enjoy the holidays the healthy way. It is more important then ever to stock your kitchen with healthy foods. Choose fresh fruit as a festive and sweet substitute for cookies, cakes and pies. The more convenient you keep these healthy snacks, the more likely you are to eat them.
The colder months bring some super healthy, seasonal fruits and vegetables. Make sure to include plenty of them as sides during your holiday meals. Cruciferous veggies like brussel sprouts with vitamins, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals. The endless varieties of potatoes and squash are also healthy sides and can even be the main ingredient in a number of desserts. As for fruits, cranberries and pomegrantes are two super antioxidant rich super fruits that take center stage this time of year. Make sure your plate is packed with all the fall and winter colors to ensure you’re getting plenty.
Your schedule will be very hectic this holiday season. Schedule your workouts just as you would any other appointment. It’s ok if you can’t make it to class, but make sure that you get some activity in at least three days per week. Finding fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music, chopping wood, or skiing are great calorie burning activities . Be active for at least 2½ hours a week. Help kids and teens be active for at least 1 hour a day.
Tip #4: Hydrate
Dehydration happens just as easily and commonly in the colder months as it does in the summer. Though you’re not sweating, water vapor is still lost when you breathe. Not drinking enough water can also make it harder to keep extra pounds off during the shorter days when we tend to exercise less and eat more. Keep yourself hydrated by drinking the appropriate amount of water; eight, 8-ounce glasses (your urine should be light-to-medium yellow in color. clear is too much water). If you typically reach for more coffee or hot chocolate during the colder days, try swapping out one of those servings for hot green tea instead.
Tip #5: Focus on flexibility
Cold weather means tighter muscles. Start off your day with a few easy morning stretches to help avoid sprains, strains, or tears from doing everyday tasks. Epsom baths can help relieve any holiday stress or cold weather aches and pains. Also allow yourself extra warm-up time before your workouts to help prevent possible injury.
We wish you a beautiful Holiday Season and a New Year filled with health, happiness, and prosperity.