WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Whether pulling long workdays, watching football or enjoying holiday meals, being habitually sedentary can have major health implications, especially this time of the year.
“You work so hard to stay in shape throughout the year, so don’t let the holidays set you back to square one," says Frank LoCastro, Wellness Program Coordinator at White Plains Hospital. "Just keep moving and be active anytime you have the opportunity. "Look at it this way - staying in shape is easier than the hard work it takes to try to get back into shape,.”
It's important to keep your circulation flowing and muscles moving by periodically getting out of your seat, he says. Rearrange your office or cubicle so that something you frequently use is not within arms reach or set an alarm that reminds you to get up and stretch every hour.
Stretching can also minimize the long term effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Finger, hand and wrist stretches can be beneficial if you are an avid texter, typer or drive long distances. Stretching the larger muscles of the legs can help increase flexibility and improve circulation and balance. Gentle spinal twisting -- while seated or reclined -- can help relieve lumbar spine discomfort.
And remember, health isn’t all about physical exercise. Stress reduction can contribute to improvements in a range of medical conditions. Making and sticking to a schedule can help ease stress and anxiety, but mentally and emotionally prepping yourself to go with-the-flow is what can really pay off during this busy time of year.
Plan to stick with your routine, but allow for surprises and challenges to alter your plans. Don’t take it so hard if you skip a workout or two says LoCastro, just don’t take the entire season off!