The festive season is here, and after such a challenging year, we’re all looking forward to taking a well-earned break! Whether you’re spending it with family or friends, travelling the country or relaxing at home, it’s important to keep yourself healthy and heart safe through the holidays. Here are some great tips to help balance health needs and celebrations, especially if you have a chronic illness.
#1 – Enjoy Holiday Food in Moderation
There’s no need to deny yourself that mince pie, steak, or helping of dessert – but remember to balance these rich, sugary and fatty foods with healthy choices. Be mindful of your portions. Hit the veggies and salads first and have small servings of less healthy choices. If you have an indulgent day, like a huge Christmas dinner, balance it by making extra healthy choices for the next couple of days.
The holidays are especially tough because of the snacks and treats that seem to be constantly available, so plan ahead if you are going to an event or party. Eat something healthy before you go so that your appetite is under control and you don’t find yourself constantly grazing on salty, greasy snacks, or bring a healthy platter of snacks with you as your contribution.
#2 – Drink in Moderation
It’s the season to be jolly, and that means there’s a lot of alcohol on offer too! If you’re otherwise healthy, it’s best that you stick to the recommendations of cardio experts and have a maximum of two drinks a day if you are a man, and one drink a day if you’re a woman.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself – after all, if you are drinking less, you can splash out on something you really enjoy, like a fancier champagne or wine or craft gin. After your allocated drinks, shift to sparkling water garnished with ice, lemon, berries and mint.
#3 – Get Active
There are few things better for our hearts than cardiovascular activity (you’d think the last thing your heart would want is to beat faster and harder, but it’s true!). Through the holidays, it’s important to make time for exercise. Not only will it help your heart stay healthy by improving blood pressure, cholesterol levels and stabilising blood sugar levels, it will also help balance your calorie and alcohol intake.
Pick an activity that suits your goals or abilities (or something you’ve always wanted to try but haven’t had the time for) and start. If it’s an outdoor exercise, work out in the early morning or early evening to avoid heat stress, drink lots of water, replenish the minerals your body loses through sweat, and have fun!
#4 – Put Your Feet Up
It has been a long, hard year for everyone and while the end of the year is often a stressful time, we can expect the end of 2020 to be additionally stressful because of everything we’ve been through. Exhaustion and stress take their toll on the heart, forcing blood pressure up and straining the heart.
You deserve to relax – it’s good for managing stress and that’s just what your heart needs. Don’t force yourself to go to every event and activity if you don’t want to. Take time off each day (especially in the hottest hours of the day) to nap, read a book, indulge in a hobby or watch some TV.
If you are high-risk for COVID-19 because of your chronic condition, age or other factors, don’t feel pressured to get out and about this summer – and if you do, be sure to take all the necessary precautions, including social distancing, wearing a mask and hand washing.
#5 – Listen to Your Body
Studies have shown that cardiac events peak during the holiday season, largely due to factors like weather (causing heatstroke), activities (for example, drownings while swimming) and lifestyle (drinking, overeating, lack of physical activity, etc.) This makes it essential for every one of us – whether you have a chronic condition or not – to take additional precautions.
This means listening to your body and taking symptoms like chest pain, fatigue, dizziness, heart palpitations, and flu-like symptoms seriously. If you have any concerns, see your doctor immediately, get someone to drive you to hospital or call emergency services.
DefibsPlus is a leading AED supplier offering defibrillator training through our HeartSmart Program. We also can assist you and your community with AEDs, batteries, storage cabinets and First Aid kits.
Stay Heart Safe This Summer with an AED and AED Training
The DefibsPlus team is here to help you choose an AED as well as teach you, your family or your employees exactly how to use the AED we have supplied you with, all with the latest safety considerations of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on how we can help you and your community prepare for the holiday season, please contact our team today.