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I hope this finds you running well as we move into the winter season! Here are 5 tips to keep you healthy as we enjoy the holiday season.
As we move toward Christmas and New Year, tis’ the season to increase our sugar intake with all the holiday treats available. Make it a point to stock up on healthy snacks and limit the number of unhealthy snacks you have in the house. If sugary sweets are in our house, my wife and I have zero self-control. Instead, save the sugary treats for those special gatherings with family or friends.
We love to cut up fresh vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower and load up a container full to have handy. We’ll then use hummus or a flavorful dressing as a delicious dip. Apples and oranges are also great to have available since they’re packed with immunity-building Vitamin C. Apples are also a fantastic source of quercetin, a flavonoid that helps guard against cold or flu bugs and also has been found to decrease inflammation. As a runner, lingering inflammation can be an injury waiting to happen. Refined sugar creates more inflammation throughout the body.
Depending on where you live, this can also be a time of year when the sunshine can be a little more elusive which means our bodies don’t make as much Vitamin D. For the runner, Vitamin D levels correspond with our immunity which is the body’s ability to fight off disease and illness. This is important, especially as training intensifies.
For those of us who suffer from seasonal affect disorders, winter can also be a bit of a downer emotionally, though it doesn’t have to be. Getting quality nutritional supplements into our bodies along with getting some measure of natural light and fresh air can help enhance our mood.
As the weather gets cooler, it’s easier to back off on water since the body doesn’t alert us as quickly to our need. A nice formula to ensure you’re drinking enough is to change your body weight to ounces and cut that in half. For example, a 150-pound person needs a minimum intake of 75 ounces of water each day. This number will increase on days when we exercise. Water helps flush out waste and toxins. One way to know you’re drinking enough is to notice a clear to light yellow color in your urine. Dark yellow is a sign you’re under-drinking.
Baby, it’s cold outside! But smoothies can be enjoyed all year round. Here’s a seasonal smoothie recipe from my book Smoothies For Runners 2.0.
This is a great recipe to bring out during the Christmas season with mint being a constant theme. The fresh peppermint leaves add some green to this dessert-like smoothie. Peppermint has long been shown to be a remedy for indigestion or an upset stomach. This herb also aids in breathing (a benefit for endurance athletes) and can help relieve symptoms of colds related to allergy. Take a deep breath and enjoy!
CocoMint Christmas Cheer Ingredients
Blend all ingredients until smooth
For whatever reason (weather perhaps?), many people seem to have the idea that a good time to take it easy with training is around the holidays. In my opinion, this isn’t always smart. Not that you have to train like a maniac during this stretch but it’s a good idea to still stay consistent. Slacking off too much will lead to a loss of heart (cardio fitness) and an increase in weight. We all know it takes a lot longer to gain that precious fitness than it does to lose it. It also takes more effort to lose those stubborn pounds than it does to gain them.
It’s really easy to get out of our routines around the holidays but staying consistent in our exercise habits can help us stay strong mentally and physically. My wife knows how important my daily run is to my overall state of mind and gladly sends me out the door.
Practice these tips over the next couple months and you’ll give your body what it needs despite the distractions that are inevitable this time of year. As Cousin Eddie said in the movie Christmas Vacation, “Clark, that’s the gift that keeps on givin’ the whole year.”
Here’s to achieving new breakthroughs in 2017 2018!
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