Last month, with the start of the holiday season, I offered some tips for getting through the season unscathed. But even the most stringent among us can find ourselves making exceptions during the holidays.
I’ll be the first to say that I skip most of the rules on Christmas Day. I spend the day with my daughter and her family and I’ve made it the one day of the year that I allow myself to be more flexible in how I eat. Maybe not totally, but I do make exceptions.
Those few exceptions that we make don’t have to disrupt all of our plans, though. As Dr. Michael Greger, author of “How Not to Die,” says, “It’s what you do the rest of the time that counts.” And the rest of the time, we can plan to stick closely with our whole food, plant-based way of eating.
Beyond food, movement is becoming one of the most recognized changes that people usually need to make in their lives. And when we’re in a holiday season like this, and making the exceptions we make, movement becomes even more important.
During the winter months, it is something that we might want to be more conscious about as well, especially if we are traveling up north where it’s not only dark half the day, but it can be too cold or snowy to get outside.
Drs. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, authors of “The Alzheimer’s Solution,” suggest doing leg squats throughout the day.
Brock Armstrong, a blogger at Get-Fit-Guy, says to “move as many limbs, in as many directions, on as many planes as you can.”
It’s important to think about because experts tell us that sitting is the new smoking. I think when the dust settles, it will be found that it’s not just sitting but also standing that’s not so good for us.
And that’s not because sitting or standing are bad, per se. It’s because not moving is bad.
Dan Beuttner, who discovered and wrote about the Blue Zones, which are five areas of the world where people have stayed healthiest and lived the longest, found that nobody exercised – but everybody moved.
The men in Ikaria live longer than men anywhere else in the world, and it’s believed to be because they are shepherds and they slowly walk with their sheep all day long. They don’t exercise, per se, but they move continually. That movement keeps them healthy and long-lived.
Perhaps this holiday season, we might not eat right at every meal, but we can resolve to move more. And that movement will help to keep us healthy.
Then, we can continue to move more and to eat better as we enter the New Year.
J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on healthy lifestyles.