Ah, the holidays. The time of year when it seems everyone is extra busy juggling work with celebrations and keeping as normal a schedule as possible while reconnecting with lots of family and loved ones. All too often, exercise and health may take a backseat, with your hard-earned health gains all year round getting second priority to the demands of the season, the festive eating, drinking, and merrymaking. It’s also a time when most adults dread the potential seasonal weight gain.
This is the season when telehealth apps like Healthstin’s MyHealthPal can come in very handy, offering the benefits of remote support during the holidays:
• Convenience – Telehealth eliminates the need to travel to the gym or clinic to continue your training or treatment program
• Flexibility – 24/7 availability means you can access health and training information anytime from anywhere. Just be sure to allocate time out of your busy holiday schedule to physical activity.
• Diverse options – MyHealthPal offers access to over 15,000 narrated training videos to cater to a wide range of health goals and needs.
• Cost effective – Telehealth not only cuts the cost of transport but also the time needed to travel to and from the gym or clinic.
• Adaptability – whether you’re staying home or travelling for the holidays, Telehealth apps like MyHealthPal enable you to continue training and be physically active where you are.
7 tips to make the holidays healthy
- Manage stress – feeling stressed, out of whack, or overwhelmed? You’re not alone. The season of celebration can also be a period of anxiety and depression. If you’re feeling the holiday blues, connect with friends and family who can offer a listening ear. Consult with a mental health professional if you’re feeling depressed.
- Get adequate quality sleep – lack of sleep can lead to a host of health problems including the chances of overeating and poor food choices. Sleep deprivation can affect the production of the hormones, ghrelin and leptin, both of which are linked to appetite and hunger. Stick to a sleep schedule even when traveling during the holidays. Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.
- Drink in moderation – if you can’t avoid drinking alcohol this season, then practice moderation. Opt for non-alcoholic drinks like mocktails or beverages lighter in alcohol like spritzers, if you can.
- Eat moderately – it’s the season for feasting alright but you can still have fun while avoiding extra weight gain that you’ll be hard-pressed to lose in the new year. Besides, overeating can also affect your sleep quality or make it harder for you to sleep. Some strategies you can adopt include the following: Eat a meal at home before heading to a party. Limit portion sizes and eat slowly instead of eating mindlessly. Don’t feel deprived by having a sample plate. Stay away from the buffet table and steer clear of foods high in salt, sugar, and fats. Eat fruit instead of sweets for dessert. Avoid sugary beverages and drink water instead. Keeping rehydrated can also keep you from overeating. If you indulged a bit for dinner, cut yourself some slack and make up for it by eating a lighter breakfast or lunch fare the following day.
- Don’t smoke – better yet, quit smoking altogether. If you’re a non-smoker, avoid secondhand smoke.
- Practice food safety – got leftovers? Refrigerate them promptly to prevent spoilage. Cooking food for a party? Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling ingredients. Observe safety practices when preparing food such as sterilising utensils, thawing frozen foods just before cooking, and using separate chopping boards for meat and veggies.
- Be physically active – celebrating the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean taking a holiday from being physically active. While you may not always have access to the gym or a sports facility, there are physical activities you can do even during a holiday trip.
Healthy holiday exercises and activities
Even if you’re traveling during the holidays, there are plenty of activities you can take up. Here are some exercises you can do while on holiday:
• Watersports – if the place where you’re staying is near the coast, swimming, surfing, kayaking, or stand-up paddleboarding offer excellent opportunities for cardio training.
• Walking – explore farther and do some brisk walking while you take in the sights.
• Trail running, biking, or hiking – get in your workout while admiring the scenery by hiking or going out for a run. If you’ve got access to rental bikes, you could opt to cycle instead.
• Bodyweight workout – no access to the gym? No problem. You can do a lot of exercises using just your body weight including squats, lunges, and calf raises for the legs, push-ups for the chest, dips for the triceps, and planks and crunches for the core. You can also improvise and use a hotel towel attached to a sturdy doorknob and do modified rows for the back. If you have access to a pullup bar, you can do chin-ups and pull-ups for your outer back.
• Calisthenics in your hotel room – you don’t even have to leave the privacy of your hotel room to exercise; do calisthenic moves such as burpees, jumping jacks, and jump squats to work up a sweat.
• Play team sports – instead of bingeing and drinking, you can gather your friends and play soccer, tennis doubles, or modified Oz tag games instead.
Bring your exercise buddy wherever you go
Probably, the next best thing to having your Exercise Physiologist along for the trip is to have MyHealthPal on your smartphone or tablet. You’ll get a lot of valuable health information and tips that can motivate you to be physically active during the holidays. Moreover, you can also turn to its extensive library of over 15,000 narrated training videos for guidance on proper exercise form and sequences so you can continue training even while on holiday.
You can celebrate the holidays and keep your health gains if you put in the effort to eat healthy, hydrate well, sleep adequately, manage stress, drink moderately, and keep active. Doing so can help you avoid seasonal weight gain and allow you to get back into your regular exercise routine more easily in the new year.
Download the MyHealthPal app now and get all the benefits of exercise and good health that will last the whole year.