Keeping healthy at Christmas can be difficult for a number of reasons. Christmas is a special time of year for a lot of people and it means different things to different people. To me and my family, Christmas is a time for us to get together and spend time relaxing, recharging, reflecting on the past year and planning the year ahead. This year, there will be a huge amount to reflect upon and even more to plan ahead. Keeping healthy at Christmas is of significant importance and I want to offer some simple suggestions to make it as easy as possible.
What I feel is key for us all to remember over the Christmas and New Year break, is that your health is the most important thing you have, for without it, we have nothing. So, while relaxing and unwinding from the past year of stress, we must all remember that our health can be effected as a result of the choices we make over the Christmas period. This includes the food and drinks we consume, along with the amount of exercise we participate in.
One strategy for keeping healthy at Christmas could be as simple as 30 mins of brisk walking, which has been associated with a 19% reduction risk in coronary heart disease (US Department of Health and Human Services 2008). Increased walking is also associated with a reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality (Gregg et al 2003), health events/crisis (Hu et al 2001) and improves glucose sensitivity along diabetics (Smith et al 2007, Murtagh et al 2010). Exercise is also a great way to reduce stress, improve mental health and socializing (Vankim and Nelson, 2013). Christmas can be a cause for stress for a lot of people, so a good walk everyday with your friends and family can help reduce any added stress.
Daily walking has also been shown to be a protective factor against neck and low back pain (Sitthipornvorakul et al 2015). Prolonged sitting, especially with poor posture, have been shown to have detrimental effects on the health of our spines, leading to reduced back muscle endurance and therefore contributing to low back pain (O’Sullivan et al., 2006). If we work in jobs that have us sitting at computers for prolonged periods, the issues are even worse (Wahlstrom, 2005). So, if you plan to sit in-front of the TV or doing a lot of driving to see family over Christmas, making sure you do regular exercises, such as walking, can dramatically reduce the risk of flaring up any low back or neck complaints you may have.
So, my call to action to the patients’ attending Spriggs Chiropractic, Spriggs Nutrition and anyone reading this blog, is to keeping active over the Christmas period. The evidence shows that it is great for your heart and your mind by reducing your stress levels, which let’s face it, we all need, especially over Christmas. The evidence also shows that it will aid in improving your blood glucose levels, so it will help any over-indulgence that may also occur during the festive period. It will help you protect your investment in your spinal health too.
Keep an eye on the Spriggs Nutrition Facebook and Instagram pages for healthy things to be eating and drinking over the festive period. Also, we will be launching A New Year, A New You special offer in January!!! This will be announced in all social media platforms and in the clinic. This offer will be incredible so do not miss it as it will get your health and health goals in focus for 2018. We will be offering Nutritional and Chiropractic initial consultations together getting your diet and musculoskeletal health ready for the new year, and creating a new you!
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2008. [cited 2009 22nd June]; Available from: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf
Gregg EW, Gerzoff RB, Caspersen CJ, et al 2003. Relationship of walking to mortality among US adults with diabetes. Arch Intern Med. 163:1440–7. [PubMed: 12824093]
Hu FB, Stampfer MJ, Solomon C, et al 2001. Physical activity and risk for cardiovascular events in diabetic women. Ann Intern Med 134:96–105. [PubMed: 11177312]
Smith TC, Wingard DL, Smith B, et a l 2007. Walking decreased risk of cardiovascular disease mortality in older adults with diabetes. J Clin Epidemiol 60:309–17. [PubMed: 17292026]
Murtagh E. M, Murphy M. H and Boone-Heinonen 2010. Walking – the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Curr Opin Cardiol. National Institute of Health 25(5): 490-496 doi:10.1097/HCO.0b013e32833ce972.
O’Sullivan, P. B. et al. (2006) ‘The relationship beween posture and back muscle endurance in industrial workers with flexion-related low back pain.’, Manual therapy. Scotland, 11(4), pp. 264–271. doi: 10.1016/j.math.2005.04.004.
Sitthipornvorakul, E., Janwantanakul, P. and Lohsoonthorn, V. (2015) ‘The effect of daily walking steps on preventing neck and low back pain in sedentary workers: a 1-year prospective cohort study.’, European spine journal : official publication of the European Spine Society, the European Spinal Deformity Society, and the European Section of the Cervical Spine Research Society. Germany, 24(3), pp. 417–424. doi: 10.1007/s00586-014-3577-3.
Vankim, N. A. and Nelson, T. F. (2013) ‘Vigorous physical activity, mental health, perceived stress, and socializing among college students.’, American journal of health promotion : AJHP. United States, 28(1), pp. 7–15. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.111101-QUAN-395.
Wahlstrom, J. (2005) ‘Ergonomics, musculoskeletal disorders and computer work.’, Occupational medicine (Oxford, England). England, 55(3), pp. 168–176. doi: 10.1093/occmed/kqi083.