Who else blinked and realised Christmas was 8 days away? Equilibrium Sports and Spinal clinic in Glen Iris, we love the jolly season, however it’s also the time where it is common for people to indulge in a beverage or two (or three or four too many) as well as feasting on some delicious Christmas ham. Not to mention all the party snacks we inevitably consume (because let’s face it, they’re there and hey – we’re on holidays!). It’s great to relax and unwind, but it’s also important that we continue to look after ourselves. There are many ways you can still enjoy Aunt Carol’s Christmas pudding and keep healthy. Here are our top six tips to keep you feeling fit over Christmas.
A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet means including a variety of food in your day-to-day eating. While you can treat yourself with a Christmas Pavlova or Trifle, it is important to balance those treats with good wholesome foods that include vegetables, legumes, grains and fruit. Keeping a balanced diet helps maintain weight as well as reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
There’s a stigma that eating healthy foods means they’re flavourless, however that’s not the case! There are many ways to create meals that taste delicious and have nutritional value. Two examples could be substituting white rice with quinoa or use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. If you want to make some healthy treats, check out these yummy healthy recipes from The Healthy Foodie.
Doing physical activity is not at the top of everyone’s list over Christmas, however staying active is so important. It is recommended that we do a minimum of 30 minutes per day of physical activity. Try playing fun active games with the family, such as a game of backyard cricket or pool volleyball.. just keep the spiking to a minimum (We all saw what Greg did in “Meet The Parents” for the movie buffs out there..:))!
Also try to avoid sitting for long periods – research shows that sitting for long periods can have a negative effect on your body and can lead to lower back pain, as well as the onset of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Avoid sitting for longer than 30 minutes at a time, and when sitting, change positions regularly.
We love H2O! Water helps maintain the function of multiple systems in the body, including your brain and heart. Fluids also help spread and carry nutrients throughout the body and assist in maximising physical performance. If you don’t drink much, it can lead to dehydration symptoms such as dizziness, low blood pressure, confusion, and digestive issues such as constipation.
To help reduce the risk of dehydration, people are encouraged to consume around eight to ten glasses of water per day. If you find it difficult to consume that much, try adding some lemon, drinking herbal tea ( NO caffeine ) or other healthy fluids, or additionally, eat foods containing a high amount of water, such as watermelon, celery and cucumber. And when consuming alcohol, think about alternating your beverages with water, or have a glass of water nearby to sip on regularly – you’ll last longer and feel better the next morning!
This giving season, think about giving presents that promote healthy living, like outdoor games, bikes, tickets to the zoo, sports lessons, or pool or beach games. There are also healthy cookbooks, juicers, smoothie makers, fitness gadgets and more.
When you’re doing physical activity you release endorphins, which are our feel-good hormones. It’s a great way to boost your energy and mood and increase your overall strength and stamina. Plus, you’ll be helping your friends and family become more active and lead healthier lives – win win.
Keeping healthy isn’t limited to food and exercise – it’s also about your emotional and mental health. When you’re swept up in the craziness of Christmas, parties, lunches and presents, a great way to calm the mind is meditation. Meditation helps reduce stress, strengthen your ability to focus and can assist in getting a good night’s sleep.
You don’t have to be a yogi or hippy, nor do you have to sit cross-legged on the floor. Meditation attracts many people because it’s flexible and versatile – you can do it anywhere at any time. Try deep breathing for 10mins before you sleep, have a relaxing bath, or rest in your favourite chair after lunch (while your food coma settles), close your eyes and let your mind slow down for ten minutes.
Don’t Avoid Injuries
If that game of backyard cricket does get a bit competitive and you find yourself with a niggle or strain, get it seen to ASAP (Equilibrium will be open between Xmas and New Year). The sooner you get seen, the sooner you get better so don’t “just wait for the holidays to be over” – book in for a treatment and get yourself ready to start the New Year injury-free.
Keeping healthy over the festive season doesn’t have to be hard. It’s all about making little changes while still having fun. Think about including healthy food options among your Chrissy spreads, drinking more water, getting active in a fun way, giving gifts that encourage activity, treating your mind to some R&R and don’t avoid your pain. Be kind to yourself, and each other, and from everyone here at Equilibrium Sports and Spinal Clinic we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.