You've probably heard before that the incidence of heart attack and stroke goes up significantly over the Christmas holidays. This phenomenon has been referred to by doctors as the “Christmas Holiday Effect”. I find this statistic to be heart-breaking – the fact that the time of year that we are supposed to be experiencing peace and joy is filled with so much stress it is literally killing people.
To reduce your stress over the holidays I want you to start planning now. It may be a good idea to grab a notepad and start to write out your commitments and obligations so that you can check some of these items off your list before the holidays arrive. One of the biggest stressors is not planning ahead and not being prepared and having to race and rush around at the last minute. I have a large yellow notepad that I write down my “to-do” list for each day. Planning ahead is a simple way to reduce stress over the holidays.
Here are some other suggestions of things you can do to protect your health from the Christmas Holiday Effect. Eat and drink in moderation. Most people tend to indulge over the holidays and excess can lead to a crisis if you're not careful. Get plenty of rest. Plan your days so you can get proper sleep. Stay active over the holidays. Exercise reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke.
A study that was just published in October 2018 demonstrated that by doing resistance exercise for 1 hour per week you can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke by 40-70%!! We know the benefits of aerobic exercise (exercise that gets your heart pumping faster), but this research showed that you can reduce your risk even further if you do some strength training at least once per week for an hour. You don't need to become a body-builder but some light lifting of weights at least once a week is a fantastic strategy to reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. Go to this link if you want to see the research for yourself... https://insights.ovid.com/crossref?an=00005768-900000000-96766
There are so many places you can go in our community if you want to do some resistance exercise. I personally belong to the YMCA on Peter Street and I lift weights 2-3 times per week. They have a lot of really good trainers that can work with you 1 on 1 if you are not sure what to do. And remember, it doesn't matter how old you are. You can benefit from strength training whether you are 16, 100 or any age in between!
If you need any help with this topic, please ask me and I'd love to help you get started a strength training program.
A BIG THANK-YOU to all of you who have been handing out the Christmas Gift of Health cards and donating to our food and toy drive. I've already taken over a trunk-full of food and clothing to the Living for Jesus outreach over on Mississauga Street.