The holiday season brings many wonderful things to Central Oregonians. Snow has fallen in the mountains, the first ski tracks or snowshoe treks have been made, and we look forward to visits with friends and family in the upcoming weeks. For some of us, managing the end of the year’s obligations and changing winter conditions can be challenging. This month’s blog highlights some things you can do to stay healthy, fit, injury-free, and hopefully a little less stressed this holiday season.
- Move your body every day. In physical therapy, we like to say that motion is the lotion. If you think of the tin man from The Wizard of Oz, he needed oil to move. Movement is your body’s oil. With movement, you keep your joints healthy and mobile. You’ve probably noticed that your joints and muscles get tight when idle. Movement keeps everything pliable. So, even if you only have time to get out a few times a day to walk the dog or take a minute to do some light stretching, make it happen.
- Get enough sleep. The average adult should get 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. This means deep, restful, and restorative sleep. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body cannot heal itself at night. This makes you more susceptible to illness and disease down the road. Rest up.
- Limit sugar intake. Sugar can dramatically impact your body’s ability to fight illness. Studies have shown that when different types of sugar are consumed, the body struggles to fight the bacteria it was subjected to. With all the illnesses going around, do what you can to support your immune system. Increased sugar intake affects sleep and inflammatory levels as well. Do your best to eat sugary foods sparingly.
- Say no. Are you a people pleaser? Do you not like disappointing people? Make 2023 the year of saying no more often. If you are overworked and stressed, it is critical for your health that you take time to rest. Achieving balance in your life and creating space to relax can do wonders for reducing your stress.
- Permit yourself to rest. If your body is tired, listen to it. We live in an area full of overachievers in the gym and at work. The tendency to go, go, go is terrific for helping us succeed in our life responsibilities, but it can wreak havoc on the body. Even short periods of rest benefit your health and wellness.
- Balance is critical for health. A balanced life prioritizes physical exercise, relationships, emotional wellness, a good work environment, and health. Finding balance means taking time for self-care and not just crossing things off your list. You are a priority. Take time to love yourself by investing time throughout the week for balance.
- Walk like a penguin. It is very slippery outside. If you want to remain upright, walk like a penguin on slippery surfaces. To do this, keep your knees loose, bend forward slightly, put your weight over your feet, point your feet out slightly, and shuffle your feet with each step. Be aware of the surfaces you’re walking upon, and make detours to limit ice walking.
- Shovel the right way. Are you shoveling the right or wrong way? To shovel correctly, you should start with the right tool. Choose a shovel that allows you to keep your back straight when lifting. Lift smaller snow loads, limit twisting, and bend at the knees when lifting. Take breaks when shoveling, and know this activity counts as a workout! Here are some more tips we wrote in a blog on how to safely shovel snow.
- Find time for mindfulness. We are so glad that mindfulness has become mainstream. Mindfulness is the act of being present. So often, we are caught up in what we did or said in the past or what we are worried will happen in the future. None of that matters more than what is happening at this very moment. Take time to sit with yourself and practice being present. When you go for a walk, feel the cool air on your skin and smell the juniper, sage, and pine that make Bend so delectable. Experience every day by finding moments to be fully present and aware. Check out this blog post to learn more about mindfulness.
- Drink more water. The human body is about 60% water. Our High Desert environment and cold weather increase dehydration levels. Reduced water intake affects cellular growth, hormone levels, and the ability for your digestive system to break down foods and extract the nutrients needed for healthy functioning. Drink 8 x 8 oz glasses of water daily. When you exercise, drink more water. When you drink coffee, alcohol, or other beverages that dehydrate cells, drink more water.
You matter. Take time to honor your body by prioritizing what you put into it and how you move it. Keep in mind that your thoughts set the tone for the day. Choose thoughts that focus on the positive aspects of life whenever possible. As we close the end of 2022, the Alpine Family is thankful for each and every one of you! Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.