The Holiday season is upon us and if you are traveling, like most do, during this time of year, this post is for you. It is estimated that people gain anywhere from 5-10 pounds during the holidays. Most of this weight gain is linked to being out of our typical routines and consuming more empty calories (calories that don’t satisfy the body’s needs such as desserts and alcohol). In addition to that, people spend more time sitting either in the car or in the airport traveling to see loved ones so there is less time spent moving. Just like you, I do quite a bit of traveling during the holiday season and I thought it would be helpful to share the three things that I have used to help stay on track and healthy during the holidays. Before you read on, I’m not telling you to not enjoy the Thanksgiving meal or the Christmas meal(s). I’m giving you three easy tips to help you still enjoy the season and not feel sluggish after all the travel and good eats.
First of all, as I mentioned above, people tend to move a lot less during the holidays. So, the question is, how do I move more without losing family time and going to the gym? One thing you can do is if you have to fly, if you’re spending 20 minutes sitting around waiting to board, take your belongings and go for a walk up and down the terminal. Some airport terminals are quite large, especially Atlanta, so you can walk greater than 2,000 steps while you wait. If you spend 15-20 minutes moving prior to your flight, you’re more than half way there to the recommended 30 minutes of movement per day. The same applies for traveling by car. Make sure to get out and move every 2 hours minimum. I know we all are anxious to get to our destination and sometimes push through even when we are sore, but this is more dangerous in the long run. If you are able to stop at a rest area, take about 15 minutes to walk around and stretch your legs. Sitting puts the most amount of pressure into the discs of the lower back, so if you’re someone who struggles with lower back pain, this will help you. Finally, use the time with your family to be active. If it snows where you’re headed, take the kids outside and build a snowman or snow fort. If it doesn’t snow where you’re at, even though it may be cold, take a walk before or after the festivities and leave the phones at home. This way, you’re getting some movement and adding in quality time without the distractions of technology.
This is piggybacking off of the movement tip. Most people when they travel don’t get enough movement or enough water. Dehydrated muscle tissue can lead to the formation of adhesions which restricts our ability to get full range of motion. The easiest way to stay hydrated is to bring your own water bottle along with you. If you’re flying, just bring an empty water bottle and use the hydration stations at the airport to fill it up once you’ve passed through security. If you’re driving, bring it along with you and sip on it in between stops. When you stop, you can always refill. Drinking enough water will help keep the discs in your spine hydrated, your muscles hydrated, your cravings under control, and keep your energy levels up.
Don’t forget to supplement. With the days being shorter and less exposure to natural sunlight, we are at risk for lowering our vitamin D levels. Vitamin D3 is a great natural antioxidant and vital in helping absorb calcium for healthy bones. In addition to Vitamin D, I always recommend taking a fish oil. Fish oil is great for naturally reducing inflammation. A lot of the foods we eat have inflammatory properties. When our bodies are inflamed, we tend to feel more discomfort either in our gut or in our joints/muscles. In addition to those listed above, I would also recommend taking a high quality probiotic. This will help keep the gut happy by providing it with natural, good bacteria. If you’re someone who consumes a lot of sugar during the holidays, consider supplementing with what I’ve listed above. Too much sugar in the diet can lead to inflammation and chronic inflammation causes other problems in our health. It makes it really hard to want to move when everything feels so inflamed.
These are just a few simple tips to help you and your loved ones have a safe and healthy holiday. As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please consult either myself or your local chiropractor/physician before starting any new supplement or new routine.