Christmas and the New Year are fast approaching; the time of year when our diets go completely out the window, and quite possibly, our exercise too. But don’t worry – with a few simple changes, you can enjoy the festivities without letting your body suffer…. And if you do let things go over the holiday season, then these health & fitness tips are great for post-holiday recovery too.
Is the gym too much for you? Try walking!
Fitness tips like “join the gym!” and “start working out!” are not very helpful if you have limited funds or limited time. For many older people, being in a gym environment can also quite intimidating and some of the exercise equipment too stressful to use. There’s another solution to staying fit and active all year round. It’s one of the best fitness tips we can offer and it’s called walking, ideally brisk walking. Walking is more effective than you thought. Just adding some extra steps to your day adds value. There are many fitness wristbands and mobile apps that track your daily steps. 10,000 steps a day is considered by FitBit and other such programs as being the optimal amount of daily steps to ensure a healthy heart and lifestyle.
New studies have recently shown that instead of burning 68 calories per mile at a speed of 2.9 miles per hour, you’re actually closer to burning 81 calories at this speed. Previous studies had only analyzed men, the samples were way too small and they didn’t account for people of different weights. It’s reassuring to know that adding extra steps to your routine is actually considered a great form of exercise and is helping you burn extra calories!
You might think you have very little time to go walking, but you can pack those steps in simply by making a few very small changes to your routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Don’t stress if you can’t park close to work or the store – in fact, maybe park a bit further out to avoid the stress and burn calories at the same time!
And if you can spare a little extra time for walking, you might even find it to be very enjoyable and relaxing, particularly with a partner. Walking gives you the chance to enjoy some fresh air and catch up with your friends – a healthy way to spend time together!
Healthy eating strategies
Nobody’s telling you to lose weight over the festive season. Maintaining your weight during this time is an incredible achievement and that should be your aim. For sure you’re going to want to indulge in a treat here or there – who can resist a piece of pie after all? Just make sure it really is only here or there, and that you make up for it by burning off some extra calories walking!
Here are some tips to help you out.
• If you’re contributing a dish to a holiday gathering – make sure you bring a healthy one, and take from it first!
• Eat a healthy snack before you leave for a big meal, such as a piece of fruit or vegetable. This will prevent you from over-indulging.
• Prioritize taking from the healthiest dishes. That includes salads, vegetable dishes and proteins, while taking smaller portions from the high fat dishes.
• Keep healthy snacks on your desk at work to prevent you taking treats from the office.
• Plan time for an after-meal walk – even just a 10-15 minute brisk walk will suffice!
• Beverages are a real killer. You might think it’s only a drink but fruit juices are often filled with sugar and are a waste of calories. Stick to water, and lower your alcohol consumption.
• You can still keep in the festive mood without baking. Why not focus your fun on something that isn’t food related, like creating decorations or playing games?
Healthy cooking strategies
• Use vegetable oil instead of butter or margarine
• Choose whole grain pastas and rice over their white counterparts
• Avoid frying. Instead roast, bake, steam or grill
• Skim the fat off gravy
• Cook your turkey without the skin
• Try making a crustless pie or quiche
• Replace heavy milk with skim milk
• Avoid frosting and instead use fruit or fruit sauce
It’s especially important for those with high cholesterol or type 2 diabetes to eat right during the festive season. Taking medication doesn’t relieve you of healthy eating duties, and certainly, should not prevent you doing exercise. You can also read this blog post on Healthy eating for a better life which gives you some great tips for healthy eating, weight management and aiding digestion.
And of course, don’t forget to take your prescription medication. With your routine changing over holiday season it’s very easy to forget taking your meds or to take a double dose. Set a reminder to ensure this doesn’t happen. Reminders are especially important when you are out of routine as you can also overdose by accident. Not taking your meds or taking a double portion are equally as dangerous and seniors are more likely to find themselves in these situations, more than younger adults, or children who’s parents are in control of their medication schedule. Drug overdoses in seniors is especially prevalent during the December/January holidays.
The January Clean-Up
Inevitably, we all generally eat a bit more than we planned. By making extra efforts not to, you can be sure that the damage will only be minimal. But if you didn’t manage to make any changes at all, don’t worry – you can get your body back on track with a little work, effort and detox. Follow these health and fitness tips for your January clean-up and you’ll be back on track in no time!
• Drink extra water to cleanse and refresh your body. For extra points, drink some freshly squeezed lemon water each morning to aid digestion.
• Exercise, exercise, exercise. Try to maintain a thorough schedule during January – and preferably let it continue! – to burn off those extra calories and get your body back in shape. Go for an evening jog instead of a drink out at the local bar or pub. Use your lunch break to take a walk.
• Cut out as much as possible sugary snacks and drinks.
• Opt for healthy smoothies instead of a carb-loaded breakfast.
• Try to grab some extra sleep to give your body the strength to protect itself against winter viruses and bugs!
Hope you have found some of these health and fitness tips interesting and applicable to you! Health and fitness tips like these might not be enough for you and if you are finding it hard to follow them then you might consider taking an extra supplement to compensate. What you eat and how much your exercise affects your gut and how you digest food. It also effects your immunity to bacteria and infections. If you are looking to increase your immune defence during the holidays and winter months then there are many dietary supplements available from health food stores that help your overall immune system. One supplement that we love to recommend is MycoFormulas Immune Defence. It is a combined medicinal mushroom supplement that helps improve your immunity all year round but it also helps you in other ways too. For starters, the supplement is a high anti-oxidant and naturally helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. During the holiday season when diet and exercise generally suffer from lack of routine and over-eating, using a dietary supplement like this might be very beneficial to you, especially if you are taking Diabetes or Cholesterol meds at the same time.
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