Welcome to the holiday season 2015! Whether you are celebrating a holiday this time of year, or just reflecting on the past year – this season greets some of us with great excitement and some of us with great dread and for some a mix of both.
So as we come to another season, it is important to do a bit of a check in. How do the holidays affect your efforts to stay on track with healthy behaviors? What has been the biggest barriers in the past? What has worked in the past?
One sure-fire way to get off track is being under stress in some way. Whether the stress is from a longer to do list, financial pressures, family issues, or increased feelings of loneliness and depression – it has the same effect on the mind and body. Stress shuts down the smart, rational part of the brain. We are more likely to react rather than make a healthy choice. It also strains all systems in the body, draining the immune system and our energy.
If exercise becomes more stressful for you during this time of year, it is time to adjust your approach to exercise for this season.
Physical activity calms the mind and body and reduces stress, but only if it is crafted for that result.
- Choose a Motivating Environment: If going to the gym is stressful this time of year, maybe a home exercise program is more realistic.
- Step Outdoors: Being in nature is therapeutic for mind and body. Bundle up and take a mindful walk, noticing the sights and sounds of the season.
- The Gift of Togetherness + Movement: Take a walk with friends and family is one of the best gifts you can give each other. Spending healthy quality time together is a priceless gift.
- The Gift of Solitude: This time of year, more socializing can be a drain for some people. Notice if you are just in need of time alone and enjoy some solitude while you move.
- Lighten Up: Caught in the pressures of the season? Time to balance it with some playful physical activity. Fire up the Wii Dance or some Geo-caching or another playful physical activity.
- Be Realistic: This is no time to set really huge goals. Keep it simple, specific and realistic. Remember something is way better than nothing!
- Plan: Each week make your best plan for adding exercise and/or physical activity to each day. Actually write it on the to do list and the calendar. Then each day to the best you can to accomplish that. Be ready for a plan B as needed.
- Partner Up: Create a strong support system with someone else you know who is committed to staying active in a healthy way this season. Even simply texting each other each day with what you did for activity that day is a helpful support system.
- Stay Positive: It is human nature to focus on what we did not do. Make a quick list each day of what you accomplished and be sure to add what you did for extra physical activity that day. Celebrate what you did do to be well today.
The key is first to notice what you need this time of year. Then plan physical activity that help keep you in balance. Finally celebrate any and all successes.
In this way, physical activity helps us stay healthy in mind and body through the holidays and with a healthy start to the new year.
How do you keep moving through the holidays? Post your ideas in the comments!
Happy, Healthy Holidays,
Keep Moving, Be Well,
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These weekly blogs are general guidelines. These guidelines apply to patients who are cleared by a physician for the type of exercise described. Please contact your physician with any concerns or questions. Always report any symptoms associated with exercise, such as pain, irregular heartbeats, and dizziness or fainting, to your physician.