It’s hard to believe but it is already December again! You know what that means don’t you? Well, yes, if you believe in it, that means Christmas, of course, but it also means flu season. And regardless of whether or not you believe in the flu, or the flu shot, I assure you that they do exist!
Starting around the time of Thanksgiving and lasting until around the middle of January we have a handful of variables that throw our bodies out of alignment. Then, we then spend a few days in bed (or wishing we were) and then moping around with a box of Kleenex, doped up and complaining to whoever will listen. Sound familiar? If so, I have great news! We, as in you and I, are going to put an end to that. No more holiday seasons spent coughing on your friends and relatives when you should be enjoying eggnog and cheer!
OK, so how do we prevent what everyone seems to get, right? Easy: First, by understanding that not everyone gets the flu and therefore that must mean that there is a way to prevent it…and not through prescriptions or your great grandmothers homemade, not-quite-drinkable, brew.
To prevent the flu you first need to understand why it strikes. Yes, it is one of the coldest months of the year, but you can’t blame the weather. Have you ever noticed how the flu season is based around the most stressful months in North America? And for those of you who travel over the holidays, have you also noticed that it doesn’t exist in other parts of the world? Strange, yes?
As North Americans we typically spend the holiday months working longer hours, sleeping fewer hours, eating poorly, drinking excessively, stressed out and gaining weight. We also drop our exercise routine or minimize it to make time for all the things that contribute to becoming ill. Then, January 1st, we wake up from our sugar and alcohol-fueled coma, create resolutions and decide to get back in line. Then, twelve months later we do it all over again.
Other than the New Year’s Resolution, this sounds very much like a trip to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, yes? And what happens there? We get ill and blame it on Montezuma’s Revenge.
Well, it’s time to stop pointing the finger! We need to learn to slow down and focus on what’s most important: sleep, diet and exercise, especially during these more stressful months of the year.
Here are some ways you can fit in that extra workout or avoid the extra calories:
- Skip the slippery drive and congested traffic to work and run there. Works too far away? Find a parking lot that’s less expensive and part way and run from there.
- Kids glued to the video games? Gear them up and put them in a sled and see how far you can run while pulling them. You’ll burn some fast calories while having a blast with the kids.
- Does your work spend the Twelve Days of Christmas by filling the office with every type of sweets imaginable? Pack a lunch full of fruit and ask your co-workers to not parade all the sweets past your desk.
- Need a gift at the mall and don’t want to spend $20 in gas looking for a parking space? Run there – you know it will be faster anyways!
- Can’t say no to the sweets? Take a water bottle to work – staying hydrated will help prevent you from grazing on cookies!
- Still can’t say no to the sweets? Every time someone offers you something, take just one and then hit your office for 10 pushups. When you can no longer do pushups you have to say no to the sweets!
- Before hitting the candy buffet at the office, drink a bottle of water and then eat an apple. That will drastically reduce your desire to over-consume the sweets.
- Avoid excess drinking at the office party by sitting at your boss’s table. Enough said!
What’s your favorite way to keep fit and healthy during the holidays? Let me know!