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Getting healthy after the holiday

12/30/2011

Too much eggnog and cookies? The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and indulge. But you don’t have to let a week of gluttony and relaxation start a trend for the new year. Making small changes and adjustments right after the holiday can actually help you jumpstart a health resolution in the new year. Here are five easy fixes from Helaine Alessio, Miami University's chair of kinesiology and health, to keep your health happy after the holidays.

Goal: Increase your physical activity (and/ or a child’s/friend’s activity).
Action: Take a child or friend on a walk in the evening to view holiday lights or during the day to view holiday decorations. Bundle up and enjoy the cool weather.

Goal: Decrease your smoking or exposure to second hand smoke.
Action: Enjoy a candy cane instead of a cigarette every time you feel the need to smoke. If a friend who smokes pulls out a cigarette, offer a candy cane instead. Compromise (if you must) by smoking half the cigarette and enjoying half a candy cane.

Goal: Reduce excessive alcohol intake.
Action: Drink “mocktails,” such as sparkling grape juice, instead of wine, non-alcoholic beer, virgin bloody Mary (includes tomato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lime juice, horseradish, black pepper, and celery stick), or a hot toddy made with hot water, cranberry juice, lemon juice, honey, nutmeg or cinnamon and a dash of hot pepper.

Goal: Do not gain weight, and maybe even lose excess weight.
Action: Try eating mainly gluten-free foods, foods with a low glycemic index (e.g. beans, vegetables, fruits) and foods that contain high protein (e.g. fish, yogurt, soy, nuts, lean meat).

Goal: Reduce or control blood pressure.
Action: Three times each day, do the following:
1. Stand up and take a 5-minute walk.
2. Perform 5 minutes of deep breathing exercises where you clear your mind of all your to-do lists and concentrate on breathing.
3. Perform 3 different yoga positions (e.g. child’s pose,plank pose, cat pose) for a total of five minutes.

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