By Andrew Papas
I don’t know about you, but the lead up to Christmas can be quite a stressful period!
There is the mental stress- the constant anguish of what gifts to buy, budget to meet, meals to cook, guests to invite – and, the physical- shopping, cooking, cleaning, functions, get togethers and of course, wrapping! So it is easy to run off track by the pressures that come with the festive season and our priorities in life can shift from our normal, healthy routines, to a hectic lifestyle with anxiety, lack of time to exercise, the addition of a few kilograms, loss of lean muscle mass, body aches and pains flaring up or returning and WAY too much eating and drinking…sound familiar?
One of the best ways, in my opinion, to maintain health and wellbeing during the festive season is to continue exercise and rehab routines at a moderate level – a little is better than nothing at all – right? Whilst enjoying the pleasures of good food, good drink and good company, exercising in moderation can be quite effective.
Engaging in physical activities such as swimming, walking, weight/resistance training – be it using body weight (hence no excuses, “oh, but the gym was closed”) or actually pushing weights, stretching and floor exercises can minimise or prevent the negative effects of no training. This may also help in motivating the return of normal lifestyle, exercises and duties, making you feel great and in good shape post festive season!
Don’t feel guilty if you enjoy yourself and overindulge on one or two, or three occasions during the festive season, I mean who can resist a piece of homemade Melomakarona and Vasilopita. Where most of us go wrong though, is that the over indulging doesn’t stop after two or three occasions, and before we know it, we find ourselves having overindulged for 14 days straight!
It is vital to have the self-awareness to identify when you have gone too far, and then to possess the strength and discipline to turn the rudder and change course!
For those of us who like to have a drink or two, I like to set a rule; every drink you have equates to a kilometre you must either walk or run the next day – 3 drinks, 3 km run; 8 drinks, 8 km run…you get the picture! Perhaps set your own rules with food and drinks that will help you work off some of those extra calories whilst still allowing you to have a good time. As for me, well nothing beats a glass of iced cold water – and a good 10km run the next day- just for fun!
Remember, ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’, so maintain the results you worked so hard for during the year and move those muscles as you prepare your mind and body for the New Year and the daily life challenges it brings.
On that note, I wish all the GCT readers a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and a New Year full of peace, good health and happiness!
APA Titled Musculoskeletal & Sports Physiotherapist
Director/Principal SOS Physiotherapy
Physiotherapist Canterbury-Bulldogs Rugby League Club