Don’t let the holiday season take a toll on your health

Any way you slice it, the holidays are a dangerous time for our health. From Halloween through Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, sweets and treats are everywhere.
Most physicians will tell you there’s an increase in heart attacks and other cardiac problems during the holidays.
Rates of pneumonia increase and more people die, even of natural causes, during this period.
The hustle and bustle and stress that can be increased during the holidays, along with eating poorly in many cases, can compromise a person’s health. Stress levels are also increased, which weakens the immune system.
One of the biggest things people should watch during the holidays is to limit the amount of sugar they eat.
It’s OK to consume a piece of pie here or a donut there, but make sure you’re also giving your cells energy they need from minerals, vitamins, protein, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
To stay healthy during the holidays, and really the entire year, simple things like getting enough Vitamin D, eating a protein-rich diet and getting enough exercise and sleep are also crucial.
Many people know that one of the best ways to increase the Vitamin D level in your body is through exposure to the sun.
However, many people work inside all day and others are told to stay out of the sun due to skin-cancer concerns.
That leads to many people having a Vitamin D deficiency, which is bad because this vitamin is key to bolstering the immune defenses. Having good vitamin D levels can even reduce hypertension and the risk of heart attacks and stroke.
The immune system and bones are made up largely of protein and people should make sure to get enough of this on a regular basis — 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily.
While it’s great to eat lots of fruits and vegetables. don’t forget the protein. Make sure things like fish, chicken, beef or pork are a part of your diet.
Finally, make sure to get exercise and get proper rest, especially during the holidays.
The holidays should be a joyous time spent with family and friends instead of at the doctor’s office or emergency room.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at

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