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Health and Fitness during the Holidays

Posted Feb 16 2011 11:27am

Although the holidays is a season for good cheer, it can also be a source of stress and depression for a number of people.   With Christmas and New Year celebrations just being a week a part, most people have to face a number of demands such as shopping, cleaning, entertaining, and preparing for the holidays.   A lot of people also have to attend parties, reunions, and other celebrations.   Because of the dizzying schedules, conflicts within relationships may occur.   Finances are burdened with the increased in spending and the body is exhausted with the physical demands of a lot of activities.   All these contribute to the stress and depression which can ruin the holidays as well as one’s well-being. Everyone must try to minimize and cope with these stressors if they are to survive this season.

                A lot of people abandon their healthy habits during the holidays and they find it difficult to go back to these good habits after the holidays.   People find that they are already physically exhausted to have enough exercise and sleep which are essential in combating stress.   Even after the holidays, people find it difficult to get back to their exercise routines.   The parties and celebrations here and there can be a source of overindulgence and a number of people actually feel guiltier after these binges.   It is therefore essential that people take control of the holidays and especially of themselves instead of letting the holiday rush get the better of them.  

                People can easily overeat during the holidays because of constant snacking and extravagant meals in parties.   Although this may only happen during the holidays, people can easily gain weight unnoticeably because the majority of the food eaten is high in fat.   Based on studies, the body is very efficient in storing fat.   Also, fat is more energy-dense than carbohydrates and proteins.   This means that fat stores more energy for the same amount of carbohydrates and proteins.   People do not normally monitor their food intake based on energy-density, and as such, it becomes very easy for people to overeat.  

               Exercise is a great counter to the overeating during the holidays.   Through exercise, the excess energy stored due to overeating is burned and plays a major role in controlling weight.   It has been found that the body’s resting metabolism accounts for around ¾’s of the body’s total energy expenditure.    The remaining ¼‘s is spent in physical activities.   Because the resting metabolic rate accounts for a sizeable portion of the body’s energy usage, it is believed that raising this can prevent obesity.   Further research also found that moderate physical activity can temporarily raise the resting metabolic rate.   By engaging in physical activities regularly, people can achieve an almost constant elevation in their resting metabolic rate.    Exercise can also reduce the effects of high-fat meal on people.   Research among trained athletes has shown that exercise can lower insulin resistance and reduce triglycerides level by around 43%.  

                People are encouraged to enjoy the holidays but in moderation.   Overeating and overdrinking are the easiest ways to do but are at the same time very difficult to adhere to.  Choosing low-fat foods are the better alternative but if it can’t be helped, exercising is a means to counter.   It is suggested that people have a dose of exercise before a large meal and people should stick with this as a regular activity.  

With regular exercise, people can eat more with no guilt because they know that they are making up to it with exercise.  

                In spite of the holidays, people should strive to maintain their healthy lifestyle.   Setting a long term fitness goal can be daunting to many, but people can always start by looking at the short-term beneficial effects of exercise and healthy eating.   However, people should eventually set a long-term goal for themselves in terms of fitness.   By striving to maintain and healthy and fit body, people can easily deal with the daily stresses.   A healthy body is always more fit to enjoy the holidays.

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