Enjoy holidays, with a tab on health.

Enjoy holidays, with a tab on health.

• IT'S once again that time of the year and the chilly northern winds, coupled with the ushering in of the New Year, is bound to get you footloose and fancy-free. And if you are not quite the party-going type, you must be enjoying that cozy corner in your living room with your near and dear ones -- unless of course you have already got your rucksack packed and hit the road.

• However, holidays can only be made the most of if you stay fit and so here are some tips that can come in handy in helping you stay in shape.

• It is important to have a healthy breakfast each day and a good choice is hot oatmeal. It not only fills you up, but oat bran is a fat-absorbing substance that promotes healthy elimination of fat from your system.

• Plan for parties by never arriving hungry and focus on the people, not the food. Avoid standing around the kitchen or the food tables. Survey the food choices before trying everything. Skip the appetizers and limit the amount of alcoholic beverages. Drink water at the party.

• Never allow yourself to be stuffed' Research tells us that it takes the brain approximately 20 minutes to realise the stomach is full. So eat slowly. 

• It is actually hard to gain weight from a holiday food binge if you exercise briskly every day. Consistent over-eating is the culprit and consistent daily exercise is the solution. Thirty minutes or more of ex- ercise raises your heart rate and gets you sweating, which will keep the extra pounds away. Engage in a variety of activities with friends and family like playing badminton, biking and jogging.

• It’s a proven fact that exercise improves your mood and increases optimism. Leave your house or apartment and get some fresh air. Go for a really long walk and if your fit- ness level is high run, you'll clear your head ... and your heart.

• The best motivation to get moving is knowing that someone is waiting for you. Make a standing daily date to meet a friend, colleague or family member for regular exercise.

• The most important thing is to enjoy the holiday by feeling good about yourself, not guilty.

• And once you are through w it's time to hit the tub. But the point is, should you se a steam, sauna or hot tub right after a workout? Since the blood tends to pool in your extremities after a vigorous workout -- and steam, sauna, hot tubs and even hot showers tend to dilate your blood vessels — it is really not the best thing to do as it will be more difficult for the blood to reach the heart and brain.

• However, if you've done a thorough aerobic cool-down and you wait a reasonable amount of time to return to almost normal, you may go into one of these "fun" things. But if you feel any sign of weakness or dizziness, get out immediately What benefits does this have? Is it similar to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise after weight training?

• There is no true benefit to sitting in a HOT, steam-filled room and sweating. I believe there's a school of thought that claims by sit- ting under conditions like this, the body will raise its temperature, become more metabolically active and will also shed toxins and fat. I have yet to agree with this. In my opinion, what happens is that anything experienced in this setting, is more imagined than real. In other words, it's loaded with Placebo effect.

• If one is to look at this more closely and LOGICALLY, it seems the experience is very taxing and stressing to ones physiology the human body likes to regulate itself at around 98.6 degrees or so. When one gets fever, it is the way of the body proper immune response to deal with invaders. But this is when there REALLY IS some sort of outside influence or even an endogenous one, causing problems. When the invaders have been dealt with, it's back to business as usual. When you put the body through the rigors of "steaming" like a pan of broccoli, you're beginning to cook it. Well, not quite, but there IS a heavy burden on the system which your body tries to balance out.

• In case you're still interested in FORCED sweating, keep it to a limit that really provides benefits such as cardiovascular work and weight training. If you're interested in flushing toxins out of your system, try lots of pure water and going on a medically supervised fast. What will happen under these conditions is nothing short of a miracle compared to sitting in a "sweat lodge."

• I hope this answers your queries



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