Oh this long December: chock-a-block with Travel, parties, poor eating, lack of sleep, added stress…’tis the season to be getting sick! And nothing can de-rail your workout more than a hacking cough, stuffy head or a fever!
Here are some tips from some of our favorite sources to keep you healthy so you can stay with your workouts and put on your A-game at the gym.
U.S. News reminds us that even though we’re not in the throes of a Charleston summer, we still need to remember to stay hydrated. “While you may remember to hydrate in the summer when it’s hot, during colder months, you may slack a bit. What’s more, most homes and offices are overheated, which can make you lose more moisture every time you breathe. And, holiday air travel means sitting for hours in air with very low humidity, which leads to the drying out of sinus passages and susceptibility to catching a respiratory virus. Eating lots of water-rich foods, like soup and salads, and drinking 6 to 8 (8-ounce) glasses of water each day will ensure you’re getting enough hydration.”
Prevention Magazine suggests challenging yourself this season. “Challenging situations can work to your advantage: ‘When we’re facing adversity, we become hyperalert and our bodies guard themselves against enemies—whether that’s a predator or a virus,’ says Monika Fleshner, PhD, an associate professor of neuroimmunophysiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder. So, even though unresolved stress can make you sick by suppressing immunity, raising blood pressure, and increasing your risk of heart disease, [setting goals] will actually provide a health boost. The best prescription is to set your sights on a reachable target, says Fleshner.” We recommend setting some challenging yet fun fitness goals and working towards those at the gym this holiday season. Not only will you stay focused, you will maintain your workout routine!
Dress for the weather.
Those of us who live in Mt. Pleasant and Charleston may be spoiled with warm weather most of the year, so when winter weather rears it’s chilly head, we’re often times left ill-prepared. But according to health.com, “Staying warm is a surprising secret to feeling merry. ‘Winter’s cold can make you feel sluggish because of the increased energy demand on your body,’ says Vincent Pedre, MD, a clinical instructor of medicine at Mt. Sinai Medical Center in New York City. For the easiest spirit-lifter, bundle up; don’t leave home without your scarf, gloves, and hat.” So when you go for that run or do that outdoor workout, don’t forget to layer!
While it seems counterintuitive to rest during this busiest of seasons, Men’s Fitness reminds us to take it easy. “To get fit, you work out regularly. But if you don’t give your body time to rest after strenuous exercise, you’re only upping the chance that you’ll get sick. Lack of sleep and overworked muscles have the same effect on your health, producing an “acidic environment in your body, which creates a breeding ground for viruses and germs to take over,” says Dr. Eliaz. The solution? Give your muscles some down time, and make sure you get 7 to 9 hours of solid sleep a night.”
Our final (and favorite!) tip comes from webmd.com. “Grandparents are in town, a flurry of kids is underfoot, and you’re wondering where you’ll find time for a quick winter workout. Here’s a thought: Why not get everyone involved…” The article goes on to suggest talking family walks, “Instead of driving, walk over to your favorite local restaurant,” joining in “community fundraisers like the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk” or better yet, we suggest getting those aunts and uncles to join you at the gym! What better way to burn off some turkey stuffing than challenging your brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles than to rock a group fitness class at DUFF? Have kiddos? Let them burn off steam at one of our kids classes. Not only would you all have some fun bonding over some exercise, but you will have made room for that extra slice of pie!