This is the season to enjoy time with family and friends, mingle at holiday parties, or to simply relax at home. It surely is a bustling time of year where we need to be mindful of our health and wellbeing. In particular, your musculoskeletal (MSK) health shouldn’t be ignored even when you’re enjoying the holiday festivities.
Whether you are sitting patiently, walking the streets, dancing into the night, or hauling gifts – don’t get carried away by the excitement; stay mindful of your activities. Here are some strategies to help you remain healthy over the holidays1:
- Exercise Regularly: Regular exercise, including strengthening, can help build muscular endurance of your back muscles, enhancing function and stability. Check with a healthcare provider before starting a new exercise program or routine.
- Eat Well: We make hundreds of decisions about how we feed our bodies every day. Instead of striving to meet ambitious goals over the holiday, try to focus on making better decisions each day. Nourishing your body will help support tissue repair. Moreover, making healthier decisions every day can lead to better long-term health by improving bone density, muscle strength and much more.
- Straighten Up: To reduce the risk of developing pain or injury, ensure that you change posture frequently when sitting or standing. Check out our free app Straighten Up Canada, which can help you improve posture through unique exercises that can be practised almost anywhere.
- Be Mobile: Exercise and moving is important to your MSK health. Ensure that you work regularly on your mobility and flexibility as well. Warm-up and try regular stretching
- Avoid Prolonged Sitting: Time flies by if you are surrounded by loved ones. Consider taking breaks in between courses or drinks to stand up and move about. Invite your friends to join along.
- Rest: Late nights and early mornings can take a toll on your mind and body. Commit to a sleep ritual, even during the Holidays, to make sure you get quality rest. Getting enough sleep promotes the body to repair from the stress of your day. Other strategies can help you sleep more soundly, while caring for your MSK system. For example, when sleeping on your side, place a pillow between knees which will reduce the rotation of the lower back.
- Lift Right: Between the snow, decorations, gifts and more, the heavy loads can take a toll on your body and your back. Using proper lifting techniques will reduce the risk of injury. Try to avoid twisting while lifting. Also, when possible try to push rather than pull objects.
Don’t let pain or injury put a damper on the holidays so make sure to care of yourself this Season!
1 Edward Benzel, George Dohrmann, et. al. “30 Tips for Better Spine Health,” The American Academy of Spine Physicians. https://www.spinephysicians.org/cd/brochures/brochures/Brochure%2030%20Spine%20Tips%20Logo%20IBI-B3-0108-1.pdf