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Don’t forget to put yourself on your gift list this year!

As we enter into the busy holiday season this week, be sure to make time to take care of yourself. The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. There are cookies and pies to bake, delicious family feasts, shopping for gifts, and parties to attend. There are so many things to do and so little time to do them! Many of us sacrifice our own healthy habits in order to fit it all in.

This year, don’t let the holidays get the best of your health. Even on your busiest days, it’s important to take care of yourself. The healthier you are, the more you will enjoy the special occasions with family and friends. Even if you don’t have time for your full workout, don’t skip it all together. Get your blood moving for 15minutes and do some gentle stretching to keep you healthy and energized for all your holiday activities.

Donald Novak, PT, DPT has these tips to keep you healthy through the holidays.

In the kitchen: Don’t try to do everything at once. Use the days leading up to the holiday to prepare. Make sure your cooking surface is at the proper height. You should be able to stand and work with arms slightly bent so that you are not bent over your work area or working too high. When possible, sit down and work to give your feet, legs and back a break. Just follow the same rules so that you are not bent over your work space or reaching too high. Be sure to give your leg and back muscles a good stretch before and after. Don’t be afraid to get some help! Sharing the work gives you a chance to remember holidays of the past and make new holiday memories. Plus, everyone gets out of the kitchen sooner to enjoy the rest of the holiday.

Shopping: Holiday shopping should be considered a sport! So, it’s important to dress for it. Wear comfortable clothing and supportive shoes, preferably walking shoes. Go for a sprint, not a marathon! Don’t try to get all of your shopping done in one trip. Spread it out so you don’t have to be on your feet too long. If you do try to make a day of it, take frequent trips to the car to drop of your packages. It’s also important to take lots of breaks and stay hydrated. If you still aren’t convinced this is exercise, pick up a pedometer and track the number of steps you take between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. You might surprise yourself! As with all exercise, don’t forget to stretch before and after your shopping trip.

The most important thing you can do is listen to your body. If you think you’ve over done it, don’t put off treatment. A few visits with your physical therapist can reduce your pain and increase your strength and flexibility so that you can get back to enjoying the season.

Happy Thanksgiving!