The holiday season can be a time full of joy and stress, but IBJI is here to help get you through the holidays with five easy tips from our OrthoHealth team.
Create a to-do list to get you through the holidays this season. This list can help you see what needs to be done and how long it may take so that you can plan your day accordingly. Set a plan for each day with your list so that you know what to expect and don’t become overwhelmed by all of your holiday tasks. Last-minute running around is an invitation for accidental injuries so taking the time to plan can help decrease the risk of an unhappy holiday mishap.
Exercise Stress Away
Take advantage of exercise to release your stress. Exercise produces endorphins, a chemical in the body that acts as a natural painkiller which in turn reduces stress. Exercise and activities such as meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, and even deep breathing techniques can produce endorphins and make your body feel energized and healthy.
Plan Your Workouts Ahead of Time
If you're traveling, planning ahead can make all the difference. Take some time to figure out what your options are so you're ready for anything.
- If you're staying with family, find any nearby gyms and ask if they let guests use their facility, or sell day passes.
- If you're staying in a hotel, find out if it has an exercise room.
- Search for walking trails nearby.
- Talk to your family in advance and suggest taking a walk or doing something active together.
Try to plan your workout schedule beforehand. Even if you have to change it (which is likely when you're traveling), you've already made a commitment to exercise. It's easier to stick with it when you have it planned than to squeeze it in later.
Make Working Out Convenient
"If you're not sure about your schedule or whether you'll even have time to get in a workout, plan for the worst-case scenario," says Shayne Welch, PT. "That may mean exercising with no equipment and for only 10 or 15 minutes."
Try these quick tips for squeezing in a workout even when you only have minutes to spare:
- Bring a workout plan with you: Plan a 10-minute routine you could do right in your bedroom. Choose 10 exercises (squats, lunges, push-ups, high knees, overhead reaches, and so on) and do each for one minute.
- Wear your running or walking shoes as much as you can. You may find a 20-minute window when people are napping or before dinner for a quick walk or run.
You may even want to invite some family members for a walk. Sometimes there are others who'd love to work out, but they're just waiting for someone else to step up first.
Take Advantage of Downtime
Planning and preparing are nice, but even the best-laid plans get derailed, especially during the holidays. Taking advantage of downtime or parts of the day where others are relaxing, watching the football game, etc. It might be the best way to focus on yourself and get some movement in. That being said, don't be afraid to partake in downtime if you're feeling drained. Rest is equally important, especially during the holiday season.
- If you're hanging out with kids, set up a game of football, tag, or hide and seek.
- Offer to help with housework, shoveling snow, or raking leaves.
- Walk! Take extra laps at the park, use the stairs, and volunteer to walk the dog.
"The most important thing is to be realistic about your holiday workout expectations," Welch says. "You aren't always in charge of your schedule during this time of year, so having a flexible mindset is crucial. Ultimately, don't forget to put yourself and your physical needs (whether that be rest or a quick walk) first."
To learn more about IBJI’s fitness programs, including the newly added ARCH program, visit our Health Performance Institute.
No one has time to get sick, especially during the holidays. With flu season here, try to avoid sickness by washing your hands regularly and disinfecting surfaces in your home. You can also incorporate germ-fighting foods into your diet. Vitamin E and Omega 3 help boost your immune system and help you to become more resilient to holiday stress and winter depression. Always consult a physician on what vitamins and diet work best for your health.
Cook in Advance and Prep Your Body with Protein
Hosting guests can be hectic, but you can take some weight off your shoulders by preparing food a day or two in advance. Freeze and refrigerate your dishes respectively.
If you're headed to someone else's house for your holiday dinner, don't go there hungry. Break your fast that day with protein to jumpstart your metabolism.
"Many of us try to fast the whole day to save 'room' for the anticipated delicious holiday meal, however, this is not the best strategy if you are trying to avoid the extra pounds," says Inbar Kirson, MD. "Making sure you have a protein meal for your first meal of the day will jumpstart your metabolism and prevent you from being super hungry before you arrive at dinner, as well as help to curb the impact of the tempting holiday food."
Protein is the building block of muscle, and muscle drives our metabolism. In addition to turning on our muscles and metabolism, protein has other very helpful properties including - making us feel fuller longer, reducing the need for snacks between meals, and helping us eat less of the foods we might love but aren’t necessarily the healthiest for our bodies.
"Research performed at the University of Illinois by Dr. Donald Layman reveals that our bodies need 30 grams of protein at one time to activate muscle and ensure that the metabolism is turned on," says Dr. Kirson.
Here are four great ways to get your 30 grams of protein for your first meal of the day and start your day off right:
3-4 hard-boiled eggs
Eggs are one of the most complete, inexpensive proteins available, and you don’t have to be afraid to eat the yolk. There are numerous studies out there that show that the yolk is not harmful to us and the yolk has eight essential amino acids.
1 cup of 1-2% milkfat cottage cheese
This has 26 grams of protein and you could add some fresh berries.
1 cup of plain Greek yogurt
This will have 18-22 grams of protein and you could put some nuts in it for crunch to get the extra protein.
A 3-egg omelet
With some spinach and feta added, an omelet is a delicious way to start your morning if you have the time (skip the hash browns and have some sliced tomatoes instead!)
Arm your body with protein to help you enjoy this holiday season without the guilt and the bloat.
Check Travel Guidelines
If you’re traveling this season, check travel guidelines in advance. According to the TSA, this Thanksgiving had a record of 27 million passengers flying by air this year. Make sure to leave plenty of time for packing, arriving at the airport, and going through bag checks. Also, check restrictions on what you can and cannot bring in your luggage to save you time. If you are bringing gifts, consider shipping them from your home instead of panicking to stay under the bag weight limit. Gift cards are always a lightweight alternative!
Stay stress-free this holiday season with these steps. Remember to take it one day at a time and ask for help when you need it.
Meanwhile, IBJI will be here to provide immediate care in the event of an injury this holiday season. If you'll be in the Chicagoland area, you can visit one of IBJI’s OrthoAccess immediate care clinics. Click here to find the closest location.