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6 Tips For A Healthier Holiday Season

RKMD Blog 2 weeks ago

The holidays are a time to celebrate, create memories, and relax after a long year.  However, the hectic schedules and added stress of trying to make everything picture perfect, makes it easy to fall into unhealthy habits.

Here are some ways in which we can stay healthy during the holidays.

MOVE MORE, SIT LESS

According to the CDC, adults should engage in at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. You might be thinking you don’t have time to fit it all in, but these tips can help you navigate the holiday season while staying as healthy and active as possible:

  • Find a parking spot further away when you shop
  • Take the stairs rather than the escalators at the mall
  • Build activity into family visits and outings
  • Get some extra steps in between flights if you’re flying
  • Make a plan to walk after eating big meals

MAKE SURE TO HYDRATE

Keeping your body hydrated is critical for overall health.  Lack of water can lead to dehydration — a condition that occurs when you don’t have enough water in your body to carry out normal functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. Water can also help with weight loss and washing out harmful toxins, which is ideal for when we’ve overindulged a little too much over the holidays.

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that an adequate daily fluid intake is about 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and about 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women. But from busy schedules to celebratory cocktails to cold weather drying out your skin, it’s easy to forget about drinking enough water this time of year.

How can you make sure your water intake is enough this season? Try keeping a water bottle with you at all times throughout the day. Or if you are hungry, try drinking a glass of water first before reaching for more food.  A lot of people confuse thirst for hunger. If you are still hungry after you drink the water, then you will probably end up eating a little bit less than you originally would have without the water.

Don’t love the taste of water? Why not make it a little more fun by adding some flavor. There are many great infused water recipes.  It is so simple to do and there are endless combinations! Just place your desired combination of fruit or herbs in a large pitcher, add ice, and fill the container with water.  Let the water infuse with the flavors and then enjoy! Try these combinations below or make up some of your own:

1 1/2 cup sliced strawberries, 5 large fresh basil leaves torn, 1 lemon thinly sliced

1 grapefruit thinly sliced, 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, 10 fresh mint leaves torn

2 sliced pears, 2-3 cinnamon sticks

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT

Overindulgence is almost synonymous with the holidays. This time of year is filled with festive gatherings, parties and celebrations—many of which center around food and drink. Whether it’s nibbling on endless snacks at a party, the festive cocktails, or all the delicious extra sweets consumed, it can be hard to keep from overdoing it.

How should you combat all the extra calories you are bound to consume in the next couple of months?  With one simple tip: moderation. You don’t need to deprive yourself; you simply need to be mindful of ways to avoid overdoing it. Try eating a healthy snack before you go to a holiday gathering so you won’t be as tempted to eat everything in sight. When filling up your plate, make sure to focus on nutrient dense foods or fruits & veggies. Speaking of plates, opt for a small plate instead of a big one.  Once it is filled, step away from the buffet line and focus more on socializing instead of the food.  If you are still hungry after you finish your plate, wait 20 minutes before getting more. It takes your brain at least 20 minutes to recognize you’re full.

MINIMIZE STRESS

While the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration with family and friends, they may also be a time of increased stress. With holiday shopping, social events, and family get-togethers, a lot is going on.  And when we feel like we don’t control what’s going on, we get stressed.

If you’re having a hard time getting through the holidays, the easiest thing to do is to talk to your family and friends about it. Maybe they can cross something off your to-do list or determine that specific events/plans aren’t necessary. Remember, sometimes it is okay to say no! Other stress-management tactics include exercising, carving out time for yourself each day to mediate or relax, ensuring you are getting an adequate amount of sleep each night, and focusing on the positive.

The last one is hard for many people, but it only requires a simple change in how you look at things. For example, instead of stressing out over what you can’t get done, be proud of yourself for the things you have gotten done. What you choose to focus on generally becomes the reality. So make sure to take time of out each day to focus on the good, because as the saying goes, “Negative thinking will never make your life positive.”

BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM

It is more important than ever to maintain a strong immune system these days. There are many ways to maintain your immune system, and most of them start with the tips from above: Exercise, Eat Healthy, Hydrate & Reduce Stress.

Exercise improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, and helps control body weight. Adding regular exercise to your weekly routine can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system.

Good nutrition plays a vital role in providing immune health support so look for foods that contain nutrients to support a healthy immune system such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E and Zinc.

Emotional states like anger, sadness, anxiety, and depression can all affect the immune system, so it is important to maintain a positive mindset.

Staying hydrated helps keep your immune system working properly. Studies have shown that being dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol is your body’s main stress hormone that is your natural “flight or fight” response. When these levels stay too high, your immune system can’t function properly.

Keep your immune system strong this holiday season by adopting a healthy regimen now to guard yourself against illnesses later.

BE KIND TO YOURSELF

Always keep in mind that even the best laid plans may go awry, and that’s perfectly normal. It’s not the end of the world if you skip a gym workout, or have an extra cookie or cocktail. If you’re overworked and exhausted, berating yourself over your schedule isn’t good. If you enjoyed too much food one night, it’s okay!

It’s the season to enjoy your loved ones and to be thankful for another year.  Just be mindful of your choices and get back on track when the moment allows. Most importantly this holiday season, be kind to yourself and others, and remember that your wellbeing is a journey – and it’s alright if there are some bumps along the road.

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