The holiday season is upon us once again and that means shopping, cooking and traveling. The busy season can take a toll on the body. Luckily, you can take precautions to prevent muscle and joint discomfort. Here are some tips to keep you happy and healthy this holiday season:
- When shopping wear comfortable shoes and try not to go during peak hours to avoid prolonged standing with heavy bags. Distribute the weight of shopping bags in both hands to keep your posture balanced
- When cooking or baking, stand on a padded surface such as a rug or mat. Standing for prolonged periods on a hard surface can lead to back pain and fatigue. It’s also important to avoid hunching over when cooking or baking. Maintaining good posture will help you avoid back aches.
- When lifting or carrying packages, test the weight by pushing it with your foot first. Carry packages in small loads instead of all at once and always lift with your legs, not your back.
- Remember to move and stretch. When we travel, we often sit in the same position for hours when flying or driving. Try to get up when possible and move around to get blood flowing and avoid stiffness.
- Don’t neglect exercise! With a busy holiday schedule, cold weather and shorter days, it can be tempting to skip the gym and curl up at home. However, it’s still important to get regular exercise for your mind and body. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and other mood disorders are often exacerbated during the holiday season and exercise can help keep them at bay. Also people tend to consume more sugar and fat this time of year and exercise can help you avoid the holiday weight and keep your muscles and joints healthy.
If you feel acute pain or chronic pain that does not resolve in 1-2 weeks, seek a physical therapist. Have a great holiday season!