We have work to do! Recently, the American Heart Association along with the American College of Cardiology released a new blood pressure guideline: high blood pressure is now considered with a systolic reading of 130mmHg (the first of the two numbers in the reading) or above.
This means that almost half of adults are now considered to have high blood pressure. Yikes! Additionally, studies have shown that adults gain an average of more than a pound of body weight during the winter holidays, and most are unlikely to shed that weight the following year.
With the temptations of egg nog and Grandma's sugar cookies, how are we to keep our health this holiday season?
Here are a few ideas to keep you merry and well:
Remember to take care of you. Juggling work, home duties, holiday chores and parties can wear you down. To counteract stress, make sure to get an average of seven to eight hours of sleep each night, wash your hands often and make lists to help you stay on task. Instead of feeling bogged down by Christmas lists and endless social gatherings, accept that you may not be able to accomplish all of your holiday tasks. Staying healthy and well rested is key to enjoying friends and family this winter.
Depression and suicide rates increase during the holidays. Watch for signs with friends and family by slowing down and listening - take an active role to help someone in need. Make sure to include family and friends or neighbors who may be alone this holiday. Volunteering is a great way to help others; collecting donations or distributing meals is an easy way to give back.
Kids in elementary school go outside almost every day, and so should we. Dress in layers and head outside for a walk. Walk through a tree farm or around the block to see holiday lights. Copy my own family tradition that gets the entire family moving: after the dishes are all cleaned and dried after dinner, we slip on our boots and head out for a walk. My cousin and I started this post-dinner ritual, and it quickly grew to include the entire family. Why not keep the activity going into the New Year? Make it a goal to bundle up for fresh air and a walk three times a week. The best way to start off the New Year is with healthy habits.