days of christmas health and fitness
. Planning ahead for Christmas can make the difference between fun and failure. Make a list of things that need done, such as shopping, cooking, presents, decorations, and travel needs. Make the list detailed. Prioritize it in terms of what is important, and what can wait. Stick to those priorities.
. America is a big country. As such, the holiday season is a busy, expensive, and, above all, stressful time to travel. Since stress can lead to headaches, upset stomach, elevated blood pressure, chest pain, and sleeping problems, reduce travel stress by checking that all travel documents are valid and up?to?date, especially when travelling abroad. Make sure you have a back?up travel plan, as well as all your contact numbers in one place. Travel pl
Handling Family Fun
. Feelings of obligation, of being steamrolled by family traditions, or of simply meeting family expectations and traversing the traditional family?related emotional landmines can all add to seasonal stress. Don t be afraid to set and adhere to healthy boundaries.
Take Time to Exercise
. Lack of exercise can quickly have a detrimental effect on your waistline however, studies show that even a moderate daily increase in exercise can help to offset weight gain caused by increased holiday eating and drinking. Adding as a brisk 10 ?minute walk, twice a day, to your usual exercise routine can help make sure that your waistline survives the Christmas season.
Planning Healthy Meals
. According to a 2014 study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Heath, people who habitually cook at home consume fewer calories and eat healthier meals than those who don t. Christmas often means eating out more, and a busy holiday schedule can make it hard to find time for healthy cooking at home. Be proactive with your nutrition by cooking healthy meals in advance, and freezing them for the busy days ahead.
. Make choosing healthy snacks a priority. Try healthy alternatives for the ubiquitous potato chips and cookies, such as crispy kale chips, dates, and chestnuts. Stock up on vegetables, fruit, and nuts.
. Over the Christmas season, financial health is as important as physical health. Try not to overspend. Create a budget and stick to it.
The Christmas Spirit
. Spirituality is a broad concept defined as a sense of connection with something bigger than ourselves. Whatever your beliefs, a sense of spirituality can help you find meaning, hope, comfort, and inner peace.Whether you celebrate the birth of Christ or the Winter Solstice, exploring the history of December s various winter celebrations can give a new perspective on feeling connected to the holidays.
The Spirits of Christmas
. Louisianans are not averse to tippling. During the festive season, drinking in moderation can become problematic. Don t free pour ? using a measuring system adds up to both less calories, and less chance of a killer hangover.Never drink on an empty stomach, and make sure to alternate alcoholic drinks with non alcoholic drinks, preferably water. Excessive drinking not only dehydrates your body and puts stress on your liver it also adds a river of
The Gift of Health
. Consider giving friends and family a new start and a healthier New Year by presenting them with a gym membership, or a paid?in?advance class of their choice.
Dont Skip Meals
. Studies show that a healthy breakfast can help maintain a healthy body weight. Eating a healthy, protein and grain laden breakfast during the holiday season may reduce the chance of unhealthy overindulgence later on at parties.
. Buffet tables, loaded with your favorite high calories snacks, can make it hard to remain on track during the holiday season. Eating a salad before leaving the house ensures you have already front?loaded on good nutrition, and reduces the chance of overindulging at the buffet table. Load up with veggies and fruit before moving on to less healthy options. Don t hover by the buffet ? sit down. Allow yourself to enjoy your food before you even thi
Deprivation Is Not The Answer
. Don t doom your diet by going cold?turkey when faced by Christmas goodies. Stay positive. Think of treats as mad money. Would you waste mad money on something that you can buy anytime? No. So why waste your mad calories on store bought cookies when you can blow them on, say, that slice of amazing, once?a?year Christmas cake instead? Spend your mad money calories wisely.
The Off Switch
. We all have our favorite Christmas T.V. movies, but try not to eat or snack while watching them. Paying attention to your favorite show often means not paying attention to what, or how much, you are eating. Eat your meals at a table. Turn off the T.V.
Give It Back
. In Charles Dickens morality tale, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge learns that Christmas is as much about giving as receiving. Altruism ? defined as a concern for the welfare of others ? lies at the heart of Christmas, making it the perfect time to give back to those less fortunate. According to scientific studies, altruistic acts increase feelings of emotional well?being in the giver, making them feel healthier, happier, and less stressed. Spread C
Think Outside The Christmas Box
. Christmas celebrations need not focus on food and drink. Here in Louisiana, we are blessed with advent calendar of amazing events, ranging from the bonfires along the Mississippi that light the way for Papa Noel, to City Park s Celebration in The Oaks, and Christmas Caroling in Jackson Square. Share with family and friends that most precious of Christmas gifts memories.
. Not many pets pull a sleigh, but they do gift their owners with a number of proven health benefits, ranging from increased physical exercise to mental and emotional support. But remember, pets are not just for Christmas. Be a responsible pet owner.
. Don t over?commit yourself. Learn to say no to parties to overspending to unwanted guests to unwanted travel. Know your limits and stick to them.
. Holidays are no time to get sick. Washing your hands regularly with soap and water kills germs that cause the common cold, influenza, pneumonia, hepatitis A, acute gastroenteritis, and stomach infections such as norovirus, salmonella, and campylobacter.
. According the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), vegetarians have a lower risk of developing heart disease, certain kinds of cancer, diabetes, obesity, and hypertension. Going meatless just one day a week can lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels. Why not make meat?free days part of your Christmas?
Health Magazine Subscription Gift Giving
. Stay abreast on health all year round with the gift of a healthy magazine subscription for yourself or for family and friends.
Watch Your Teeth
. With all the sugary foods available at Christmas, teeth come in for a bit of a beating. Sticky Christmas cake and pies are especially damaging. Eating a small piece of cheese after anything sweet is an effective way to return the mouth to its natural acid balance, which helps to reduce the chance of developing tooth decay. Never use your teeth to open bottles.
Indulge In Health Conscious Christmas Food Favorites
. The good news is that traditional Christmas centerpieces like duck, chicken, goose, and turkey are rich in both protein and the fat?soluble vitamins essential for neuron function and muscle repair. Healthy cooking tips include pricking the skin of your chosen bird to maximize fat drainage refrigerating gravy to harden and remove fat (worth 56 calories per cup) and cut down the bread in turkey dressing by using more vegetables.
T was The Night Before Christmas
. If you are up with the mice on Christmas Eve, you already know how easy it is to become sleep deprived over the holidays. Sleep deprivation can lead to moodiness, and behavior changes. Keep your sleep schedule normal by continuing exercising regularly, not overdoing the alcohol, and unplugging from electrical devices, including cell phones, before bedtime.
. Enjoy the day. Don t beat yourself up too much if you have overindulged a little. A New Year is a new start. Treat it as such.
. The best way to stick to the 12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide is to play with those gifts that make everyone active. If someone has been given a scooter, a bike, some skates or some fitness games like tennis on the Wii, get them out and have a play as a family. You can also hold a tournament using the gifts to keep people entertained.
. So, you ve got your in laws coming round for dinner and you re going out with work friends for a Christmas drink before taking your nephew to a pantmoime. Time is often precious and in short supply at Christmas, but on busy days like this break down your exercise into small, 10 minute sections. 10 minutes when you get up, 10 minutes at lunch and 10 minutes when you get home in the evening. Studies have found that short sessions like these are sti
Enter a sporting event
. Runs, triathlons, swims and cycling events have become ever more popular and you can see why they act as a great motivation tool and can really help you to stay focused. Booking yourself a place in a sporting event will help you stay healthy and fit during Christmas and you won t let your fitness regime slide. There are lots of sporting events that can be done during the Christmas period too, such as Boxing Day runs and swims.
. Tonight you re throwing a special Christmas party at home. Whilst in many ways this is great news for your health (greasy takeaways are not going to be as much of an option at home), it might mean that you get a little heavy handed with your drinks measures. Alcohol is one of the easiest ways to over indulge this Christmas, so to avoid ruining your health commitments use standard measures.
. Zero time means that you should swap longer workouts for high intensity sessions. Circuit training, interval training or slow sessions with weights are all great ways to get the most out of a shorter workout. Skipping, the plank and other exercises using your bodyweight are also effective, high intensity workouts. To make your sessions festive make a Christmas playlist full of your favourite tunes just make sure if you re in the gym you don t ge
Hit the streets
. Although online shopping is handy, the 12 days of Christmas health and fitness guide thinks you should get out and shop in the non virtual world at least a few times over Christmas. Walking around the store, carrying bags and pushing a trolley will mean that you re getting a decent workout without realising it. Plus, looking at the Christmas gifts that are now on offer and listening to the carols in stores is not to be missed.
. Today you need to take time to relax. It s an important part of staying healthy and fit during Christmas, not only because it s good for your mind and your stress levels, but also because relaxing and resting will mean that you have enough energy to do exercise on other days. Think about how you enjoy relaxing. You might like a hot, steamy bath, an invigorating exfoliating session or a face mask. You might just like to cosy up in front of a fire
Get rid of your tree
. You don t always have to hit the gym or go for a massive run to keep healthy and fit over the festive season. Today, you should go out with family or friends and get rid of your Christmas tree. Ask your family or friends to carry the tree to your car and then dispose of it safely. Although sad, taking down those decorations is a good way to get moving.
Exercise after food
. If you re going out for a festive meal tonight try to fit in an exercise session after you ve eaten. Studies show that exercising after you have eaten reduces blood sugar spikes. This means that you re much less likely to reach for those mince pies or crisps and dip later in the evening. If you can t get out for you normal session, you could just suggest going for a walk with the people you ve eaten with.
Thank you gifts
. Time and money are both squeezed during December. Going out into the countryside and foraging for materials you can make into thank you gifts will help you and your family or friends get active and save money this Christmas. The gifts you make will depend upon where you are and materials you have available. Be creative and let your imagination go wild.
Go for a festive picnic
. A festive picnic is the perfect way to keep healthy and enjoy the Christmas period. If it s too cold to eat outside have an indoor picnic, creating a winter wonderland in your living room by putting up a tent and decorating it with Christmas decorations. In your hamper pack some warm salmon fritters, a flask of squash soup and some mini turkey tartlets made with filo pastry and cranberries. Brandy soaked satsumas, roasted chestnuts and a cranber
Do you really want it
. Christmas often involves kicking back and throwing off your normal restraint. Yet often this means that we indulge in too much mindless eating. When you reach across for another handful of salted peanuts, or tuck into another Christmas biscuit, just think do I really want this? Obviously you should have some treats, but overeating just makes you feel uncomfortable and will mean you have to work harder to get back to your pre Christmas body.
. Let loose and dance off any extra party calories. The added bonus is that the more time you spend dancing, the less time you will spend eating and you get to hang out and have fun with your friends while you do it.
Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables
. Gravitate towards the fruits and vegetable options while eating starchy carbs, sugary and fattening desserts in limited portions. Remember that vegetables, especially broccoli, spinach and some fruits are rich in fiber, which will give you a feeling of fullness. You can add a small side of ranch dressing and drizzle some on your vegetables, instead of dunking your vegetables into your dressing. You ll save on calories and extra fat.
Nibbling and Snacks
. When eating snacks during a party, distance yourself from the tables where all the food is. By staying close to the food, you re more inclined to just reach out and eat without thinking too much about what you re putting in your body.
Maintain your routine
. Don t skip your workouts just because you re on vacation. The best thing you can do is try to keep your exercise routine intact. I know as well as anyone how easy it is to forget healthy eating habits during the holidays, but if you can at least keep your workouts going, it will help prevent holiday weight gain.