5 tips to stay healthy over the holidays

A digital heart rate monitor and other wearable fitness measurement devices are one of the ways to stay healthy during the holidays. Small exercise equipment might make a good Christmas gift for those conscious of their fitness.

Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.

A digital heart rate monitor and other wearable fitness measurement devices are one of the ways to stay healthy during the holidays. Small exercise equipment might make a good Christmas gift for those conscious of their fitness.

It’s easy to blow off your diet and exercise during holiday festivities and dig into the fudge, Christmas cookies and eggnog offered up so prevalently around this time of year.

New Year’s Eve is just around the corner, so we can make that perennial resolution to lose the extra weight gained during the holidays. But we’ll remain noncommittal about that.

And who’s got time to exercise when we’re burdened with additional seasonal chores like untangling tree lights, sending out Christmas cards and entering the fray at the malls?

“The main thing for the holidays is moderation,” said Chris Proffit, owner and pharmacist at Uptown Drug with two locations in Kingman and one in Golden Valley. “You can’t overdo it with food and alcohol.”

Here are some easy ways to prioritize health and wellness and keep your weight in check:

Make mornings count

Evenings are especially busy around Christmas, so taking control of your mornings can be key. Winter mornings are dark and cold, and the hardest part about working out can sometimes be just getting out of bed. Stay accountable by making workout plans with friends. Get your yoga-loving coworker to commit to a weekly class with you, or start a holiday steps competition at work to motivate yourself to move more.

Measurable results

New, innovative technologies can inspire you to take charge of your health. Fitbit trackers that are worn on your wrist can help you optimize workouts by measuring how many steps you’ve walked or climbed, your heart rate and quality of your sleep. They cost $60 to $150, and might make a great gift for someone who’s fitness conscious. Walmart sells a digital heart rate monitor for $25, and other wearable fitness measurements such as burned calories for $20 to $40. “It’s an excellent idea,” Proffit said. “They say compliance with regular activity and moderation of diet is greatly increased.”

Strike a balance

Exercise accounts for only about 25 percent of weight loss, while healthy eating accounts for 75 percent. Indulge yourself this holiday season, but also make smart choices. Go for the apple pie and eggnog, but pair them with healthier choices earlier in the day. Enjoy the shrimp cocktail instead of the cheese and crackers, or have a light breakfast of yogurt before the holiday feast. It’s all about balance. Instead of reaching for all the sweets and comfort foods in front of you, think about what you’d really like to eat. Choose wisely and mindfully.

Focus on fun, not food

It’s Christmas and you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself. If you spend your time counting calories instead of counting down to the New Year, you’ll miss out on the most important part of the season, which is having fun with friends and family. What’s more, you may find yourself overindulging later if you’re too restrictive.

Get regular rest

Christmas can be stressful when you have parties to plan, gifts to buy and financial obligations to meet. A University of Chicago study found that people overeat on snacks – sometimes hundreds of additional calories – when they aren’t getting enough sleep. Get your rest, Proffit said. Take a breather, and when you can, go to bed early. Tomorrow’s another busy day.

StatePoint Media contributed to this article.