It is tough to keep healthy habits even under normal circumstances. But the holidays can make it even more challenging. Your regular exercise schedule may get thrown off by holiday engagements, travel, etc. Not to mention you will probably be eating richer foods than usual. Changes in your diet and schedule can bring on unwanted aches or pains, plus physical and mental stress. For these reasons, we would like to share some holiday health tips with you.
1. Be Prepared for the Holidays
Plan for the worst-case scenario if you are unsure about your schedule or whether you’ll even have time to get in a workout. Try these quick tips for squeezing in a workout even when you only have minutes to spare.
- Bring a workout plan with you. Plan a 10-minute routine you could do right in your guest or hotel room if you are traveling. Choose ten exercises (squats, lunges, push-ups, jumping jacks, and so on) and do each for 1 minute.
- Use resistance bands. Resistance bands travel well, and you can use them for quick strength exercises whenever you catch a few minutes.
- Bring along a workout on DVD or try streaming workouts online, such as those offered by Fitness on Demand.
- Wear your running or walking shoes as much as you can. You may find a 20-minute window when people are napping or before dinner for a quick walk or run. You can invite family members for a walk. Sometimes others would love to work out, but they’re just waiting for someone else to step up first.
2. Use Every Opportunity
Planning and preparing are fine, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. If you find there’s just no way to get in a workout, get creative and find ways to move your body any way you can. For example:
- If everybody’s sitting around watching football, get on the floor for some sit-ups or push-ups. If that feels awkward, do some isometric exercises.
- Walk as much as possible. Take extra laps at the mall, use the stairs, volunteer to walk the dog.
- If you’re hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag, or hide and seek.
3. Stay Motivated
Remember what motivates you. Who doesn’t start on a health program with enthusiasm and dreams of better health? But when you fall off that diet or exercise program, it is easy to give up altogether. The key to success is remembering why you are doing the program in the first place. For some, it may be to look more fit; others want to be healthier or are conquering diseases such as arthritis or diabetes. The important thing is remembering why you started the program in the first place, ignoring the losses, and getting back onto the program if you fall off it.
4. Manage Stress
The holiday season should be a time of joy, sharing good times with family and friends. But we also know it can come with the stress of heavy traffic, parking nightmares, long lines at the stores, deadlines to meet at work, and so forth. Here are some suggestions for avoiding stress:
- Try to keep your regular sleep times and mealtimes. You may have noticed that lack of sleep for adults and children can create havoc on one’s emotions. Many parents have a simple rule with children: they are either tired, hungry, or both when they get fussy. So, Keep it as a basic rule to maintain good sleep and mealtimes as much as possible.
- If stress is getting too much, do what works best to relieve some of the stress. That could be getting some space by taking a walk, taking a coffee break, a warm bath, listening to relaxing music — whatever works for you.
- Breathe! That may sound too simple. However, deep breathing sends more oxygen into your body and can help calm your nerves, reduce stress and anxiety. Deep breathing can also help relax your muscles which can reduce pain.
5. Visit Your Chiropractor
Your spinal cord is like a highway connecting the brain to the rest of your body. That is, nerve messages travel from your brain to the spinal cord and then to the rest of your body. Then, the nerve messages travel back to the brain through the spinal cord. When nerve messages in your body jam up, it is like being in a traffic jam on the freeway. Your body will not function optimally.
Through gentle manipulation, chiropractic adjustments ease painful joints and muscles into their proper position. We keep your nerve connections and joints healthy and slow the progression of joint degeneration.
At Carolina Rehab, we also offer physical therapy, which exercises and trains the joints to function correctly again. Physical Therapy helps to increase motion and strengthen the body. Chiropractic and Physical Therapy work together to resolve pain and return mobility.
Our Holiday Wishes
Our purpose here at Carolina Rehab and Physical Medicine Center is to give our patients a better overall lifestyle. And it is our wish that you celebrate the holidays stress-free and pain-free. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Dr. Craig Strickland,