- Editor: Shelby MacNab
- Author: DeAnna Molinar
For years the news and media have released reports that the holidays mean weight gain and ever-widening waistlines. All the hype leaves me asking: how many holidays between Thanksgiving and New Year’s do we actually have?
There are a few things in life that that we just can’t control: holiday gatherings, office Christmas parties, laughing at a not-so-funny joke, and, did I mention, family? Let’s face it, as much as we would like to control the holiday season, there are times when we just can’t.
What’s completely within our control? Physical activity! I know, I know, the moment I say physical activity we start thinking of the closet of winter clothes we need to organize, the windows that need to be washed (even though it’s going to rain tomorrow), or the dusting that you just haven’t been able to get to all summer (maybe that’s just me).
But if we know that the next month or so is going to be filled with food-related activities, why not counter-balance the darts of despair with shields of activity? Because that my friend, we can control!
Increasing physical activity provides the body and mind with many benefits:
- Increase your chances of living longer
- Feel better about yourself
- Decrease your chances of becoming depressed
- Sleep well at night
- Move around more easily
- Have stronger muscles and bones
- Stay at or get to a healthy weight
- Be with friends or meet new people
- Enjoy yourself and have fun
Why should I move more? According to the USDA guidelines, when we are not physically active, we increase our chances of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
Physical activity can divided into four different types:
- Aerobic activities: this activity can be moderate or vigorous (running, walking, skating)
- Muscle-strengthening activities: makes your muscles stronger (weight lifting, push-ups)
- Bone-strengthening activities: make your bones stronger (jumping)
- Balance and stretching activities: enhance physical stability and flexibility (yoga, dancing, t’ai chi)
This holiday season, lets focus on the parts of the holiday season we can control.
Why wait for New Year’s to start gaining the benefits of physical activity?