It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But with so much to do, we know too well, it can also be the most stressful time of year. That’s why it’s so important to make the time to stay active and to remember to look after ourselves.
To help you, we have put together some top tips and exercises to help you feel your best throughout the holidays
1. Movement is Medicine
The Christmas holidays are a time to relax and unwind and for many of us this means taking a break from our regular routines – including exercise.
While rest is important, movement is key to keeping aches and pains at bay and staying well over the holidays. With this in mind here our tips for staying active this Christmas:
- Adjust your exercise during this busy period rather than doing away with it completely. This could mean waking up earlier and doing some simple stretches and your exercises before the day starts. Alternatively if you fancy destressing from this busy season why not shake things up and try some yoga or tai chi using a you tube video.
- Avoid sitting for prolonged periods of time. It’s easily done during the movie season but try to set a timer to get up and walk around every 30 minutes – why not use it as a hydration break?
- If you are able to, incorporate as much natural exercise into your day as possible. Walk where you can, take the stairs if you can, say yes to those walks with family and friends.
As tempting as it may be to do nothing, adjusting your routine marginally through the festive period will help keep you energetic, active and feeling your best.
2. Keep aches and pains caused by the cold at bay
There is no doubt that winter has arrived and this can make muscles more tense leading to aches and pains.
Aches and pains are particularly common around the neck and shoulders this time of year and can really put a dampener on festivities.
To help with this:
- Don’t forget your scarf when you leave the house, wear multiple layers when out.
- At the end of the day, think about getting a hot water bottle or wheat bag around your neck and shoulders.
- Incorporate some of the following neck stretches into your bedtime routine:
Stretch 1: Neck rotation
Turn your head to one side until it can’t go any further. Hold that position for two or three seconds and then return to the centre.
Stretch 2: Bending Forward
Allow your head to come forward so that your chin touches your chest or nearly does so. You will be looking right down at the floor or your lap if you are sitting. Do slowly five times, coming up to looking straight forward each time.
Stretch 3: Bending Back
Move your head back until your face is looking up at the ceiling. Don’t do this movement quickly or forcefully as this can result in discomfort or pain. Do slowly five times, coming up to looking straight forward each time.
3. Avoid backache wrapping presents!
For many of us, buying gifts for loved ones is enjoyable, but when it comes to wrapping it tends to be “one of those things that needs to get done”, which usually gets left to the last minute and can also be an especially painful experience for those suffering from back pain.
If you’ve still got some last minute gift wrapping to do – here are a few tips to help minimise the strain on your back:
- Tip 1: Avoid sitting on the floor
We all do it ….with all the gifts, paper, sticky bows and tape all laid out in front if us, but all that bending over puts unnecessary strain on your back and can lead to aches and pains. So instead of wrapping on the floor, we recommend using a table, counter or even an ironing board that is waist level. This will ensure you’re using your arms rather than your back and will help you maintain good posture.
- Tip 2: Break up wrapping sessions
Instead of trying to wrap all of your gifts in one go, break up the wrapping sessions so you’re not straining your muscles and sitting or standing for a long period of time.
- Tip 3: Use Gift Bags!
Wrapping can be stressful and time consuming so you can always use fun, festive gift bags along with some decorative tissue paper finished off with some ribbon.
4. Think before you lift
The festive season is full of all kinds of lifting. And we often lift without thinking, whether its grandchildren, Christmas decorations, shopping bags, heavy gifts or even turkeys!
To help keep your back healthy this Christmas and prevent back pain, we have put together a few tips to help you:
- Tip 1: Stand close to what you are lifting – the pressure on your lower back is multiplied the further away from what you are lifting
- Tip 2: To lift, squat and bend at your knees, keeping your back straight and body upright as you lower to pick up the object. Use your legs to rise. Do not lean over or reach to lift the object and avoid twisting and turning.
- Tip 3: Test the object’s weight before lifting it by pushing it with your foot. If it is too heavy, ask for help.
5. Don’t put it off!
If you suffer from aches and pains on a regular basis but have been putting off seeing a physiotherapist, book that visit. If it leaves you feeling better and more able to enjoy everyday activities – its a great way to start 2023!I
For more information or a chat contact us on 0121 270 6045