Wassail for Winter Wellbeing

The word wassail harks back to Anglo-Saxon times and is translated as ‘good health’.  Whilst the ‘good health’ does, in terms of festive traditions, allude to a pretty potent drink heartily consumed during the 12 days of Christmas, its sentiment is still very much alive today.

The sense of happiness and cheer that we feel at this time is most frequently seen in a downtime from our usual daily routines accompanied by socialising with family and friends which, of course, includes richer food and more drink than we usually enjoy.

To have this time together is a good thing, the ‘good health’ we usually look to maintain can be overlooked whilst we are celebrating.  So, in the spirit of the season, we are offering our C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S good health tips in a fun way to embrace the joy of the season while also bringing you seriously long-lasting health.

C is for Chocolate

Eating dark chocolate really can make you feel happier. One of its ingredients is phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which helps regulate mood.  There’s also an amino acid, tryptophan, found in small quantities in dark chocolate, which is linked to the production of serotonin…and that is what makes us feel happy. Good things come in threes and dark chocolate is no different as it contains a high concentration of antioxidants which reduce inflammation, a condition linked to the onset of depression.

That’s a whole lot to smile about – but do remember to eat it in moderation as despite its health benefits it is high in calories!

H is for Hugs

Hugging is officially good for you.  The ‘love hormone’ oxytocin is released into our bodies when we have that cuddle.  You have the power to make someone feel better and what better gift to give to people at Christmas?  What’s more, like all good acts of giving, hugging will make you feel better, too.

R is for Remember

Given that the festive season is a break from our normal routines it is important to remember the daily essentials.  Don’t forget to take your bonebalance each day.  You need to take it each and every day to reap the rewards for your bone health.  If you’re going away over the season, remember to pack those sachets and take it each morning before the fun of the day carries you away!

I is for an Invigorating Walk

Make time for a walk outside each day.  It will, quite literally, be a breath of fresh air!  Take it at a brisk pace and you’ll raise your heart rate as you breathe harder.  But do take care if it’s cold and wet – it could be slippery.  Why not step out with family and friends?

S is for Singing

It’s back to wassailing, again.  The good health drink is accompanied by hearty singing and we have many traditional carols which celebrate the season.  The Christmas message of ‘joy and peace to everyone’ makes us feel closer and happier but there’s more to a sing-along than that.  Singing and making music exercises our brains keeping our grey matter working  hard. And as for our bodies, singing out loud improves our breathing, posture and releases tension in our muscles.

T is for Turkey

Traditional of course for many at Christmas, turkey is a great source of protein which our bodies use to build and repair bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, blood and tissues.  It is also rich in a great many vitamins and minerals such as: B-Complex vitamins, iron, potassium, phosphorous and zinc which help to boost our immune system and support healing in our bodies.

M is for Magnesium

Magnesium plays a vital role in maintaining the health of our bones.  It contributes towards bone density and helps to prevent the onset of osteoporosis.  Magnesium can be found in those classic Christmas nuts: almonds, cashews and peanuts.  We could say, forgo the sweet treats and get crunching… but it just gets better.  Our old friend dark chocolate also contains a good level of magnesium.  But do remember, nuts, like chocolate, are also high in calories.  Remember, a little of what you fancy does you good!

A is for Activity

We’ve already talked of walking in a winter wonderland – but you might not have the chance to get outside for that brisk, heart pumping walk.  And if you’re used to exercising you may feel a little tired and sluggish as your routine has been broken.  If the gym’s shut and your weekly class is closed for Christmas, why not try a little home workout? Just watch you don’t bash into the baubles though! Here are some ideas to get you moving:

High Impact – if your bones, knees and hips can manage

Squat thrusts

Press Ups

Star Jumps

Alternate Lunges

Low Impact – if you’re new to exercise or need to take the ‘jump’ out of the moves

Step your legs in and out

Press Ups on knees

Step Out to the side – left then right

High knee walking on the spot

Aim for 10 of each and then see how many times you can repeat the series.  Why not play those Christmas Carols whilst you’re exercising?

S is for Sleep

If, like us, you’re counting the ‘sleeps until Christmas Day’ – fantastic!  But don’t forget that we all rely on good sleep for overall health and wellbeing. Sleep improves our concentration and mood.  It reduces stress, helps maintain a healthy body weight and repairs the tissues within our bodies, including our beloved bones.

However you spend Christmas-time, we wish you a very happy, hearty and healthy season, full of love and laughter.

Merry Christmas!