The holidays are filled with loved ones, delicious food, and beautiful memories. However, they are not necessarily conducive to a healthy way of living. It’s easy to let our regular healthy eating and exercise routines go when the holiday season arrives.
From November through New Year’s, all those holiday gatherings and the stress they can cause can have a negative impact on our general well-being. But things don’t have to be this way. Fortunately, maintaining a healthy lifestyle all year round is possible with a few simple tips.
The holidays are about enjoying your favourite foods with your favourite people but making simple diet tweaks can help you indulge in your favourite holiday foods without the guilt. Making small changes like swapping out sour cream for plain Greek yogurt, using low-fat dairy alternatives, and opting for healthier meals throughout the day can lead to a healthier holiday season. With these simple tricks, you can keep all your favourites on your plate without all the excess calories.
Limit your intake of high-calorie drinks like eggnog, martinis and margaritas. Water accounts for 60% of our body’s total weight, and we must stay hydrated to maintain this ratio. It is also necessary for several bodily functions, like keeping our cell fluids and delivering nutrients.
Many enjoy the occasional alcoholic beverage at a holiday party, but it should be noted that alcohol consumption actually dehydrates you. As a general guideline, experts recommend drinking one full glass of water for every alcoholic beverage you consume. You will be pleasantly surprised with how much better you feel by staying hydrated with water throughout your holiday festivities!
Even more, our metabolism must be prepared with all the additional calories we consume during this time of the year. Water is the perfect way to kickstart the body’s metabolism, and experts even suggest that drinking cold water burns even more calories than room-temperature water.
So drink up!
The holidays can quickly become stressful, last minute shopping and guests can have a direct impact on your planned schedule. But amidst the chaos, maintaining healthy habits can be really helpful to your overall well-being. Incorporating some low-maintenance ways of an active lifestyle among all the holiday parties and family obligations is an excellent way to maintain your physical health and get a couple of minutes of mental reprieve.
How can you prioritize fitness during the holidays? Below are some ways you can stay active:
1. Plan your workouts ahead of time
- If you’re staying in a hotel, find out if it has an exercise room.
- Keep your activities simple; find walking, running or park trails nearby.
- Staying with family? Ask if they have a gym nearby and if they let guests use their facility or sell day passes.
2. Plan workouts during downtime
- Plan early morning workouts. We know how improvised the holidays can become, but planning your activities for when everyone is still asleep means you’ll hopefully have fewer disruptions.
- Is your family busy watching a game? Or taking a nap? Use that time to slip out for a quick workout.
- Offer to help with household chores like shovelling or raking leaves.
Frequent testing can help prevent those in your circle from unknowingly spreading the virus at holiday events, especially if your family is travelling. A rapid test result is considered valid for the day you receive the results. So, it is most helpful if you take the test shortly before you plan to attend an event or be in close quarters with others.
Another great tip is to test yourself after the family or holiday gathering to prevent possible transmission to co-workers and friends.
Feeling sick? Stay home and protect your family members from possible transmission of the flu or COVID-19.
The holidays are all about spending time with friends and family, and most of the time, that means spending time indoors. Good ventilation helps protect against the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. It replaces indoor air with outdoor air, which can reduce the number of infectious particles indoors. Natural and mechanical ventilation help to reduce levels of infectious particles indoors.
1. Natural Ventilation
Open windows and doors regularly, when possible, to improve natural ventilation. Opening multiple windows can create a crossflow of fresh air. If windows have openings at the top and bottom, open both for maximum airflow.
2. Mechanical Ventilation.
Many buildings use a central heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system for mechanical ventilation. It probably uses an HVAC system if your indoor space has vents in the ceiling, walls or floor. Consider improvements to increase outdoor air exchange rates and filtration efficiency. For example, use the highest efficiency particulate filter (ideally MERV 13 filter rating or higher) that the system can handle.
3. Portable Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are also known as portable air filtration devices. When used properly, they can reduce the amount of viruses in the air. When choosing an air purifier, select a unit that’s:
- equipped with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter
- the right size for the room in which it will be used
- certified by a recognized body, such as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)
Using an air purifier indoors may add an additional layer of protection.
Monitor Your Air Quality
This holiday season, equip yourself with a CO2 monitor to better understand the effectiveness of ventilation within an indoor space, especially with larger indoor gatherings. People are the primary source of CO2 indoors, releasing CO2 into the air when we exhale. Therefore, when indoor levels of CO2 are high or increasing, it may mean that there isn’t enough ventilation to clear exhaled air from a space.
For a CO2 monitor to be a useful indoor air quality tool, you must act when levels are high or increasing. For example, you could:
- Reduce the number of people
- Avoid activities that involve singing, shouting or exercising
- Move outdoors or to better-ventilated spaces
- Open windows or doors
- Increase the amount of outdoor air supplied through the HVAC system
- Use portable air purifiers