Tips for staying healthy over the holiday season

The holiday season is upon us and with it comes times of celebration, visits with family and friends, and a greater appreciation of what’s important to us. The holidays present the perfect opportunity to value the gift of health and provide our bodies with a little extra self-care. In order to stay healthy and happy throughout the holiday season, try these tips:

Wash your hands frequently: 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the most important steps you can take to maintain health and prevent sickness is to wash your hands. Be sure to rub fingers and palms together with soap for at least 20 seconds and rinse with clean, running water.

Dress appropriately 

Exposure to cold weather can increase health problems for older adults. If you go outside, the CDC recommends dressing in layers. Keep your head, ears and hands covered and wear warm, dry shoes and socks to prevent frostbite and hypothermia.

Eat healthy 

While the holidays can tempt us to indulge in unhealthy foods, do so in moderation. Incorporate some healthy dishes into your holiday meals or try swapping out a sugary dessert for a piece of fruit. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends including all five food groups when preparing holiday meals (fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy), and selecting lean cuts of mean such as turkey, roast beef or fresh ham. For more tips on preparing holiday meals, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Stay active 

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans suggest that older adults get at least 2 ½ hours of cardiovascular activities and two days of strength training activities each week. While the cold may keep you indoors, you can still find ways to be active. Dance to your favorite holiday music, get involved in activities at a local senior center, or walk around a local shopping mall with a friend.

Manage your stress

The holidays can be hectic and stressful both mentally and financially. It’s important to take time for yourself and find ways to manage stress. According the American Psychological Association, the best way to avoid holiday stress is by setting realistic expectations for gift-giving, seeking support from friends and family and taking care of your health.

Prevent injuries 

Injuries can happen to anyone at any time, especially around the holidays. Make sure to never leave fireplaces, stoves or candles unattended and use caution when hanging holiday decorations to prevent falls.

Visit your healthcare provider 

Regular check-ups can help prevent future health problems and address any current concerns you may have. If you plan to travel over the holidays, ask your provider about special health precautions or recommended vaccinations.

For more information, call HealthLink Littauer at 518-736-1120. You can email us at healthlink@nlh.org or visit our wellness center on 2 Colonial Court in downtown Johnstown.  We’re your community health & wellness service of Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home.

Alicia DeRuscio B.S., is the Community Education Assistant at Healthlink Littauer

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