General Health Monday December 21, 2015

How Christmas Can Boost Your Health

I have never lost weight over Christmas. I don't know anyone who says' Oh look my skinny jeans don't give me a muffin top anymore' from 14thish December to 3rd Jan. But the Christmas and New Year period doesn't need to be unhealthy, in fact there are some health opportunities to get stuck into.

Carol singing

Deck the halls with boughs of holly, fah-lalalalalalalalaaaah! Tis the season to be naughty fah-lalalalalalaaaaa.....singing is good for you. It relieves stress because it's a great form of mindfulness (living in the present to sidestep stress) and it exercises your lungs. Heart Research UK promotes singing every year as a great aerobic workout and social activity, so get stuck in.

Giving gifts

Giving gifts is a source of pleasure, who doesn't love watching someone open their gift and get excited over the contents? All that oxytocin makes you feel good, and it'll lower your blood pressure. There's also the chance of receiving something you've been lusting after for ages. Mmmm... A gift wrapped Monty Don. Thank you Granny.

You're also likely to sit at the table together and interact without the Internet. Go on; see if you can still do it. Rutgers University researchers found that families who ate together on a regular basis were less likely to be obese and had better mental health.

Dance off

Dancing at the Christmas do, downing a warm bottle of Reef at the 'G' Spot After Hours Club, those were the days. Alcohol intake and risk of STIs aside, all that dancing did me the world of good. Not only does it burn off calories, it makes you feel great. Dance your stress away.

Mulled wine

It tastes great and also has a good deal of health benefits. It's true! Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory that can reduce swelling and restore normal tissue function, red wine is a source of antioxidants, and nutmeg detoxifies - cleaning up your liver and kidneys. So treat yourself to a glass or three.

Christmas dinner

Turkey is a good source of lean protein. It provides potassium, selenium and B vitamins to boost your health - just take the fatty skin off first. AND there are vitamin-packed sprouts, carrots, peas, parsnip and potatoes in your festive dinner.

You could even give the turkey a great Christmas by going veggie. A nut roast or roasted mushrooms are great for you. Cutting down on meat in the New Year could also improve your health.

Sleeping

The enforced break from work could be spent grabbing some extra sleep.

Most people don't get enough (…sleep! Grow up) and this can lead to obesity, heart disease and depression. An extra hour each day over the festive period may be all you need to boost you back up to healthy levels. Keep yourself healthy by going to bed earlier because a study by NASA showed a 26 minute nap increased their pilots' efficiency by 34%. Imagine what you could get done with that much extra productivity.

I wish it could be Christmas every day

Christmas traditions can be good for you. Keep up the singing, dancing, family time, sprout intake and extra sleep. I wish it could be Christmas everyday - it can be if you stick to these tips. Sort of.

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