The holiday season is frequently associated with warmth and cheer, as well as certain challenges to maintaining health and fitness.
As you endeavor to maintain your family’s good health and habits this holiday season, you will likely face a few notable challenges.
For one, there is a noted increase in the incidence of infectious diseases around the holiday season. A second challenge is the colder weather in many geographical regions, which diminishes enthusiasm for outdoor activity. A third challenge is the common practice of consuming foods which are not optimal for promoting good health and fitness.
With these challenges in mind, here are six tips to guide you in your health promotion efforts this holiday season.
1). Take Your Children to the Dentist
One common holiday practice in many families is the increased consumption of sugary foods. It is a good idea, therefore, to ensure that your children are current on their visits to the dentist.
According to Argyle Family Dental, a pediatric dentist in Centennial, CO, even babies may have issues with dental decay. The key to children’s dental health lies entirely with their parents, who must set reasonable standards for the consumption of sugary foods and treats and ensure their children see a dentist regularly.
We have written previously regarding what to look for in a family dentist, and one of the more crucial attributes is a good bedside manner. Seek a family dentist who is gentle, reassuring, and competent.
2). Frequent Hand Hygiene
The holiday season is part of the broader cold and flu season, characterized by a noted uptick in the prevalence of these and other infectious diseases.
It is, therefore, very important to ensure that your children practice good and frequent hand hygiene, especially after going to the bathroom, before meals, and after coughing, sneezing, and blowing one’s nose.
At the same time, avoid antimicrobial soaps: while they can be quite effective against harmful bacteria, they also tend to take a heavy toll on beneficial bacteria that actually play an important role in keeping us healthy.
Use simple hand soap and water to keep everyone’s hands clean and cleaners such as vinegar and water for most household cleanliness tasks.
3). Allow Sick Time
Should one or more of your children come down with an infectious disease, such as the cold, allow them sufficient time to convalesce in the comfort of your family home. Ensure adequate consumption of fluids and make sure your children get sufficient rest.
Allowing your children to take this sick time to convalesce will be good for them, as it will expedite their recovery and return to normal health. It will also protect other children who might be infected by the same pathogen.
4). Maintain Physical Activity
With the days being shorter and colder in many parts of the country, it can be challenging to maintain optimal levels of physical activity. Nonetheless, this challenge should be approached with a will to keep the family moving.
Try a family walk in the crisp fall or winter evening. If you live in a well-lit neighborhood, and the weather permits, even an evening walk may still be quite enjoyable.
It is also possible to maintain physical activity indoors. One idea would be to engage in the practice of yoga, an activity which can be enjoyed by the whole family. Even children’s games and diversions, such as hide-and-go-seek, can help to provide solutions.
5). Select Activities to Keep Everyone Busy
There are myriad food-based temptations each holiday season. If you find your family is focusing too much on food, select other activities in which to engage and preoccupy them.
You might try a family ornament-fashioning session. Or perhaps you could regale your neighbors with festive holiday songs. You might also throw a Christmas party and engage everyone in games.
No holiday season would be complete without fun foods, but games can be a good source of diversion, as well.
6). Try Healthier Food
While the idea of making your holiday menu healthier might sound anathema, it doesn’t have to be hard or unpleasant. There are numerous recipes for healthy but still quite palatable foods out there, including baked holiday goods.
In general, the idea is to switch out those ingredients which are not conducive to health with healthier alternatives. Try reducing sugar or replacing it with honey or stevia. You can even substitute bananas for butter and black beans for flour.
Once you attempt a couple of these projects and sample the results, you may find they are much more toothsome than anticipated.
Maintaining good health and fitness during the holidays is more challenging in some regards than it is at other times of the year. The main reasons for this are the increased incidence of pathogens, the weather making it harder to be physically active outside, and the many temptations to consume holiday foods, which tend not to be healthy.
Follow the six tips presented here, and you should be off to a good start in managing these challenges this holiday season.