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7 Tips to Stay Healthy this Holiday Season

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By Xavier Thompson, ATC

Thanksgiving feasts, holiday dinners and New Year’s parties are right around the corner. As the temperature outside continues to drop and the holidays get closer and closer on our calendars, it’s important to keep healthy habits in mind or things can snowball in a hurry.

Two things typically lead to weight gain during the holiday season:

  1. A decrease in activity.
  2. An increase in calorie intake.

People tend to move less and eat more as it gets colder outside and the daylight hours become shorter. It’s important to continue to make an effort to get in regular exercise throughout the winter months. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity at least five days per week. That adds up of 150 minutes. Another option they recommend is at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days per week for a total of 75 minutes. Another alternative is a combination of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity in addition to moderate to high intensity muscle-strengthening activity at least 2 days per week. The key to staying motivated to exercise any time of year but especially around this busy season, is to find something that you like to do and keep doing it whether that means going to a gym, joining a recreational sports league, taking dance classes or working out within the confines of your home.

While exercise is an important component to staying healthy, you cannot exercise your way around a bad diet. As delicious as all of your favorite holiday foods may be, it’s important to remember to exercise moderation in your choices. Food is your body’s fuel and the type of fuel you put in can make a big difference in how you feel and function. It’s important to keep eating fruits and vegetables, drinking water and giving your body the nutrients that it needs.

Here are a few tips to help keep your holiday indulgences from turning into a lot of extra pounds:

  1. Drink a glass of water at every meal.
  2. Eat your vegetables first and try to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Eat slowly and take time to appreciate the flavors of your food.
  4. Use small plates, bowls etc. to limit portion sizes.
  5. Limit your sugar intake.
  6. Don’t starve yourself all day to indulge in one large buffet style meal (this leads to overeating).
  7. Follow the 80-20 rule, (80% of all of your eating should be healthy allowing you to indulge 20% of the time).

Don’t fall into the trap of telling yourself that you’ll get back in shape after the holidays. Save yourself the work of daunting New Year’s resolutions and continue to make healthy choices now. Need some help designing a holiday workout? CLICK HERE for a full workout you can do anywhere!