Staying Healthy this Holiday Season
‘Tis the season.
This is a difficult time of year for our physical and mental health, not to mention the waistline. Thanksgiving is barely behind us and Christmas looms large on the horizon: a little more than three weeks and counting.
Family dinners, holiday parties and open houses characterize the diet-busting month of December. Throw in some baking and frenzied shopping and you have a recipe that spells weight gain and stress.
To make matters worse, for most of us, the time in between eating and drinking events is usually spent at our desks working, or behind a computer screen helping Santa out with a little online shopping.
So, how do we combat the assault on our well-being over the holiday season?
Science tells us over and over again that moving our bodies regularly is the best way to combat a whole range of ailments, from weight gain and chronic health issues to mental health issues, such as stress and depression.
So, it’s no surprise then that walking—and exercise in general—is among the top tips for reducing holiday stress.
“One of the best ways to overcome stress during the holidays or any other time is to exercise regularly,” writes Connie Bennett at Psychologytoday.com. “Research shows that physical activity not only boosts your fitness and energy levels but can also elevate your moods.”
The article, written back in 2009, is perhaps even more relevant today in light of a slew of recent studies that highlight how sedentary work lives and lifestyles are so detrimental to our overall health and well-being.
The holiday season just compounds the problem. And, if you’re tempted to cut regular exercise and movement out of the equation in an attempt to simplify your life, think again.
According to a study from scientists at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, “Despite the many demands on your time, this is not the season to stop exercising. When regular exercisers are inactive, they begin to feel depressed and fatigued after just one week.”
The good news is that research has found that regular workouts and movement can actually boost your mood for up to 12 hours, and the list of physical benefits is even more impressive.
If we’re being realistic here, the holiday social calendar isn’t one we’re likely to forego. But with a little strategy in place, we can certainly make sure it’s a holiday to remember, for the right reasons.
Get moving. Walking regularly is the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve your health—both mental and physical.
And let’s face it, the best gift you can give this holiday season is a healthier, happier you.