Christmas is here again, and for most of us it means a few weeks of holiday with its many implied travels and activities. Sadly research has shown that it is also the time we most often neglect our health and end up starting the New Year with the consequences of our holiday.
While these tips are familiar it is worthwhile to emphasize them again, with the hope that we will all make it to the New Year - healthy, fit and strong.
1. Don't neglect your exercise regime – most of us will be away from our home, gyms etc however incorporate some form of exercise to compensate e.g. Jogging or walking. Keep active.
2. Beware of too much alcohol – apart from its obvious effects on mental and cognitive abilities, the majority of people don't realize that alcohol actually contains a lot of calories. A single night of binge drinking can undo a whole week of exercise.
3. Keep yourself safe from illness:
• If going outdoors- Carry insecticide repellent, mosquito nets and avoid staying in the open till late.
• Heading to the lake – our lake is a Bilharzia zone, ask your doctor for prophylaxis and avoid long periods in the lake water especially at beaches where the water is obviously dirty.
• This is also cholera season – avoid drinking water that is not bottled or straight from the tap, otherwise BOIL your drinking water or use Waterguard. Wash your hands before/ after meals and wash all fruits before eating.
4. Most black people think they don't need sunscreen, but with prolonged periods in the sun even the darkest of skin will eventually get sunburn. The good thing is the darker you are the lower SPF you will need. Main areas to protect are your nose, arms and any parts that will not be covered.
5. Appropriate attire e.g. if heading to mountainous zones – wear protective clothing, especially to cover your arms and legs, our mountains are notorious for insect bites.
6. Stay hydrated - the hot weather and long trips can leave our bodies dehydrated – always travel with enough water to drink along the way.
7. Have a basic first aid kit – painkillers, bandages, ointments for minor ailments, and wherever you travel find out where the nearest hospital or medical services are, in case of an emergency.
8. When travelling - pack your own food and drinks, this avoids buying food on the way that may not be hygienically prepared and also means you can plan for healthier snacks for your trip
9. Mealtimes – many diets fall apart at Christmas parties/meals, while a guest who won't eat anything is every host's nightmare – don't abandon your normal eating habits completely. Taking small portions at a buffet and pacing yourself as you eat go a long way.
10. Stay safe - Inevitably holiday season also means holiday romance, whatever you do, don't forget to protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, always carry condoms with you.
Wishing you all a Happy and Healthy Christmas.