Fitness Facts: Staying healthy over the holidays

Connie Colbert 

By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic

The holiday season is upon us and the temptations are all around us! Here are some tips to staying healthy around the holidays:

Exercise in the morning

According to a study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, morning exercise can help ensure better behavior all day long.

Using brain scans, researchers found that when women worked out in the a.m., they not only moved more the rest of the day, but they also responded less to pictures of tempting food compared with the days they didn't do a morning workout.

Avoid saving your calories all day for that one meal

Cutting back all day so you can indulge at an event that night only sets you up for a pig-out. Be sure to eat your three meals and a couple of snacks. Aim for lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein.

Consolidate your workouts

If you can't get to your favorite yoga class or find time for the treadmill, even 15 minutes can help you maintain your fitness level. For example, jumping rope for 15 minutes burns about 190 calories; a quick yoga session at home can help you stay flexible.

Keep the inevitable indulgences in check by staying active. Enjoy some winter sports for a change of pace, or schedule a quick walk or workout before you head to the next party.

Practice the three-bite rule with dessert

It will keep your sweet tooth and calories in check. 

Chew slowly

When you chew rapidly, you swallow more air and get more bloated. Plus you will enjoy those holiday flavors even more when you take the time to chew!

Increase your potassium intake

Potassium balances sodium, so you retain less water. Some potassium-rich foods include bananas, papayas, grapefruit, oranges, cantaloupe, asparagus, spinach and broccoli.

Include lots of seasonal, colorful fruits and vegetables

Budget your carbs and drink more water

Cynthia Sass, a well-known registered dietitian, nutrition editor and sports nutrition consultant, said, “This time of year, carbs are easy to overdo, and while I don’t advocate cutting them out altogether, I do think it’s smart to corral them. For example, if you packed a slice of mom’s banana nut bread in your lunch, opt for a salad topped with lean protein instead of a carb-heavy sandwich or wrap, and if you’re having potatoes with dinner, ditch the other can-live-without starches, things you won't feel deprived forgoing. Strategy number two, reaching for more water, is not only important for staying hydrated (especially if you'll be having some cocktails); it's also a smart weight-control strategy. One study found that adults who downed two cups of water before meals shed 40% more weight over a 12-week period, and another found that drinking water before meals naturally led to eating less. And drinking H2O will help you steer clear of both the sugary and artificially sweetened drinks, which both may interfere with controlling your weight.”

For more detailed information, the American Heart Association has a full holiday eating guide.

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GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

David said to Michal, "It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when He appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel — I will celebrate before the Lord. (2 Samuel 6:21)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/