How can it be December already? I can’t believe it’s the end of the year. And we are knee deep into the holiday season with parties, gift shopping, and even family vacations. Even though New Year’s is right around the corner and when we typically make a big promise to get back to the gym and cut out beer and pizza, right now may be a good time to take a close look at your habits and activities.
Starting now and adding some activity and healthier habits into your schedule will make your New Year’s resolution that much easier to keep. Plus, you’ll go into the holiday party season with a plan, which will help you with the endless office lunches, happy hours and parties.
So, let’s talk about some ways to stay healthy or start healthier habits over the holidays. A word of advice - don’t get overwhelmed by doing everything on this list. Pick a couple items and then add on as you get comfortable.
Drink more water
Water is one fluid that everyone agrees should be consumed in large quantities. If you haven’t been a big advocate of drinking water, you’ll want to add a few more glasses of it to your daily menu, especially if you take on a new exercise activity. Plus, it will flush out toxins and keep your belly full, too. The amount of water you should take in varies from person to person.
Research shows that sitting is just as bad as smoking. Being active helps, but doesn’t offset a day spent sitting at your desk. A great way to break up that time spent behind your desk is by drinking more water and taking more trips to the bathroom during the day. See, two birds, right? You’re welcome. Otherwise, try adding some walking meetings to your schedule or take a stroll during lunch. Another option is to set an alarm to remind you every hour to get up and move for 10 minutes, the recommended timing to break up the day.
Running is an activity that doesn’t require a gym membership or any special equipment or gear. We do suggest picking up a good pair of running shoes to get started. But then, after that, it’s just you, a nice trail or sidewalk, and your running shoes. Running is an activity that can be squeezed into your day pretty easily, too. If you’re already an early bird, then try setting aside that time to run. Bonus: You get it done and can take on the day with your exercise checked off of the To Do list. Or, if you can’t swing it for the morning or evening, a run at lunch can get the blood flowing and give you more energy for the rest of your day.
If you already run and want to mix things up or take it to the next level, consider signing up for a race or joining a running club. Running with friends can be fun and getting one of them to be your running buddy will help you stay motivated, too.
Keep healthy snacks with you
Some of the best snacks for you are actually very portable. Bananas, apples, grapes, oranges, carrots are all relatively low maintenance fruits and veggies and they are either packable on their own or can be prepared to go with you very easily. Organize your snacks the night before so you don’t forget them in the morning rush. Snacking on veggie and fruit goodness throughout the day will help you resist the temptations of the vending machine and get you partway towards your daily serving of fruits and veggies. Win. Win.
Wash your hands
The CDC (and pretty much everyone in the infection control community) has stated the importance of hand washing to prevent the spread of infection. And who wants to be sick over the holidays? The familiar reminder from our mothers when we were little “Wash up before supper!” is even more relevant now.
Start a health journal
Changing your habits can be hard enough, but if you don’t have a support network, well, that just adds a new layer to your challenge. One way to stay on top of your new healthy habits is to keep a journal of your activity. It helps you plan ahead, stay motivated, reach your goals and to be mindful of your indulgences. For example, this journal was written by professional runners and includes tips and motivational messages.
This is definitely not a comprehensive list, but it’s a start. Because our mission is to help you stay healthy (and free of infection) - and let’s face it, it’s more fun to be well during the holiday season - we hope you are inspired to make some healthy changes to your lifestyle. What are you waiting for? Get going!
What would you add to this list? What works for you? Let us know in the comments!...