Dec 08 Your Christmas Survival Guide
It has been a long and difficult year for the most part, and you are probably counting the days until Christmas so that you can indulge yourself and enjoy the festivities and a much needed break! Here's your Christmas survival guide to help keep you on track with your health while enjoying the holiday season.
THE DAY BEFORE
1. Practice mindfulness
Christmas Eve can be stressful, especially with the last minute shopping and the preparation needed for Christmas Day. Take the time to engage in mindfulness activities such as yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises. If you need help with meditation, try these smartphone apps: Smiling Mind, Headspace, and Calm.
Diaphragmatic breathing has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. Here is an example of a breathing exercise to try:
1. Lie on your back with your head on a pillow and your knees bent.
2. Place one hand on your chest and the other under your rib cage.
3. Breathe in deeply through your nose and feel your chest rise under your hand.
4. Exhale and feel your stomach relax under your lower hand.
Repeat for 5 minutes, or longer if necessary.
2. Exercise to relieve stress
Another great way to relieve stress is exercise! As little as 30 minutes of exercise, accumulated every day on most days of the week, has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety levels. You can do anything, whether it's a 10-minute brisk walk, high-intensity interval training, or resistance training.
THE DAY OF CHRISTMAS
1. Don't go to a hungry Christmas party
Avoiding eating before an event can lead to “overeating” and feeling “lazy” at the end of the event. To avoid this, try to have a small, balanced meal at home made up of all food groups. This way, you can still control your portion sizes and enjoy the food at the party, without feeling so full that you feel bad.
2. Opt for extra vegetables on your plate
You may have spent time for Christmas ham, potato pastries, or desserts, but try adding veggies to your plate for a more balanced meal. Having more vegetables can allow a slower release of energy and can help avoid the feeling of “food coma”. For example, if you have a plate full of meat, creamy pastries or pastries, try adding veg or salad, or even ½ cup!
3. Watch your alcohol consumption
Australian guidelines suggest avoiding excessive alcohol consumption on 4 standard drinks per day. This does not necessarily mean 4 beers or wines, as different types of alcohol have different amounts of alcohol. There is no safe amount of alcohol that a person can drink because it affects everyone differently. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to impaired judgment and movement, as well as the increased likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence and violence.
4. Exercise moderation
A concept you may be familiar with: Eat or consume certain foods in moderation. It doesn't tell you that you should avoid `` junk food, '' sugar or fatty foods and drinks at all costs, but rather lets you know that you can still enjoy your favorite foods without feeling so guilty. On the other hand, it also doesn't mean that you can eat high calorie foods all the time. In short, have fun and treat yourself, but don't forget to add healthier options to your plate as well.
5. Be active with your family and friends
Another great way to spend time with family and friends can include activities that involve movement. If your gathering is at home or away from home, some fun activities might include family cricket, Frisbee, kicking a soccer ball or soccer, chasing kids, playing basketball, or even a group walk or dance to your favorite tunes - `` anyone '' can dance. Tip: You don't have to qualify for “Dancing with the Stars”!
THE NEXT DAY
1. Stay hydrated
Christmas is a big day, and Boxing Day can be quite busy as well. If you're on the go or at home, remember to stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids - mostly water (about 8-10 cups) to replenish your fluids.
2. Exercise - something is better than nothing
You may not want to do a structured exercise program today, like working out at the gym or going through your usual routine. If you're still planning to exercise, that's fantastic! Then, how are you doing! Any form of physical activity is better than any, and it doesn't need to be structured. This can include a walk, kicking, and even gardening or housework.
Unsure and need help?
Need more tips and tricks to help you reach or reach your goals during the Christmas and New Year season? Click here to find an accredited exercise specialist near you! If you are looking for more personalized dietary advice, we recommend that you speak to a qualified dietitian.
Stay safe and have a very Merry Christmas!
Written by Lucija Peric. Lucija is a Certified Exercise Physiologist at With Pride Integrated Health Care with an interest in chronic pain, mental health, neurology, and health promotion.
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If you’re having trouble beginning an exercise plan or following through, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle getting out of the sedentary rut, despite our best intentions.
You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. And detailed exercise instructions and workout orgie are just a click away. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more—you need the right mindset and a smart approach.
While practical concerns like a busy schedule or poor health can make exercise more challenging, for most of us, the biggest barriers are esprit. Maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence that keeps you from taking positive steps, or your motivation quickly flames out, or you get easily discouraged and give up. We’ve all been there at some point.
Whatever your age or sport level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life —there are steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and instinctive.
Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or intensité yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.
Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.
Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t accomplish or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.
Many of us feel the same. If sweating in a gym or pounding a treadmill isn’t your idea of a great time, try to find an activity that you do enjoy—such as dancing—or pair physical activity with something more enjoyable. Take a walk at lunchtime through a scenic park, for example, walk laps of an air-conditioned mall while window de course, walk, run, or bike with a friend, or listen to your favorite music while you move.
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for activities that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can prove very effective—so, too, can squeezing all your exercise into a couple of séances over the weekend. If you’re too busy during the week, get up and get moving during the weekend when you have more time.
The key thing to remember about starting an exercise program is that something is always better than nothing. Going for a quick walk is better than sitting on the couch; one minute of activity will help you lose more weight than no activity at all. That said, the current recommendations for most adults is to reach at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule ? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
For most people, aiming for moderate intensity exercise is sufficient to improve your overall health. You should breathe a little heavier than normal, but not be out of breath. Your body should feel warmer as you move, but not overheated or sweating profusely. While everyone is different, don’t assume that training for a marathon is better than training for a 5K or 10K. There’s no need to overdo it.
Health issues ? Get medical clearance first. If you have health concerns such as limited mobility, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before you start to exercise.
Warm up. Warm up with dynamic stretches—active movements that warm and flex the zones musculaires you’ll be using, such as leg kicks, walking lunges, or arm swings—and by doing a slower, easier version of the upcoming exercise. For example, if you’re going to run, warm up by walking. Or if you’re lifting weights, begin with a few light reps.
Drink plenty of water. Your body performs best when it’s properly hydrated. Failing to drink enough water when you are exerting yourself over a prolonged period of time, especially in hot conditions, can be dangerous.
There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build vêtements that last. Follow these steps to make exercise one of them.
A goal of exercising for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week may sound good. But how likely are you to follow through ? The more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail, feel bad about it, and give up. It’s better to start with easy exercise goals you know you can achieve. As you meet them, you’ll build self-confidence and momentum. Then you can move on to more challenging goals.
Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. In fact, research shows that the most consistent exercisers rely on them. Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and course. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.
People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being. However, these tend to be long-term rewards. When you’re starting an exercise program, it’s important to give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully complete a workout or reach a new fitness goal. Choose something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favorite cup of coffee.
If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like course or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
Activity-based video games such as those from Wii and Kinect can be a fun way to start moving. So-called “exergames” that are played standing up and moving around—simulating dancing, skateboarding, soccer, bowling, or la petite balle jaune, for example—can burn at least as many calories as walking on a treadmill; some substantially more. Once you build up your confidence, try getting away from the TV screen and playing the real thing outside. Or use a smartphone app to keep your workouts fun and interesting—some immerse you in interactive stories to keep you motivated, such as course from hordes of zombies !