Say “Ho, Ho, No” to seasonal stress and weight gain

By Dr. John C. Kagan, M.D.

seasonal stress and weight gainIs the holiday season weighing you down? With the holidays upon us, we are preparing for parties, family gatherings and gift giving, but what many do not realize is that the physical and financial demands can be very taxing on our bodies, inevitably leading to stress and weight gain. Do not let seasonal stress and weight gain put a damper on your holiday spirit. Instead, consider taking preventative measures to make the most of your holidays, while keeping your body happy and healthy.

When bombarded with countless sugary drinks and desserts that are commonplace during the holidays, it is important to understand the impact that these unhealthy foods will have on the body. This awareness is particularly important for those with osteoarthritis, because weight gain can have an extensive effect on the health and comfort of your joints. Excess weight puts stress on weight-
bearing joints, such as the knees, hips, feet, ankles and spine, putting your body at risk for further wear and tear. Lowering caloric intake and increasing physical activity can promote weight loss, reduce the pain caused by osteoarthritis and limit additional joint damage. Swearing off sweets altogether during the holiday season can result in binge eating or increased feelings of anxiety. However, while it is perfectly acceptable to indulge your sweet tooth at a holiday party, remember that moderation is key to maintaining a healthy weight, and preventing joint damage. Instead of lingering by the desserts table, try to focus on socializing with friends and family, and make an effort to maintain a balanced diet throughout this season by making smarter eating choices on a daily basis.

While this time of year can be very hectic, do not let the holiday chaos disrupt your exercise routine. According to the Arthritis Foundation, physical activity and healthy weight are key to managing symptoms of osteoarthritis, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends completing 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Staying active is key to maintaining a positive attitude and healthy body, so use this season as motivation to add aerobic, strengthening and range-of-motion exercises to your regular routine to mix up your routine and combat those extra calories.

With your busy holiday schedule in full swing, you may be letting preparation and social gatherings take precedence over getting the amount of sleep that your body needs. However, it is important to make sleep a priority in your life in order to ensure that you will awake refreshed and ready to face the day. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night, so ensure that you are setting aside enough time in the evening to get the amount of sleep that you need to stay at the top of your game. The Arthritis Foundation encourages individuals with osteoarthritis to improve sleep by maintaining proper sleep hygiene, which includes not consuming a heavy meal, caffeine or alcohol before bed, not watching television in the bedroom and keeping your room at a comfortable temperature, dark and quiet to promote sleep. It is also advantageous to maintain a regular sleep schedule, and incorporate relaxing activities into your evening routine, such as taking a warm bath, listening to soothing music or playing an audio book.

If you are experiencing joint pain this holiday season, it is important to speak with a doctor to discuss your options for pain relief. Before starting a new fitness routine, consult an orthopedic surgeon who can help design a fitness routine to promote wellness, minimize the chance of injury and reduce joint pain caused by osteoarthritis. Dr. John C. Kagan and his staff are ready to answer all of your questions. Dr. Kagan has more than 30 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist treating patients in Southwest Florida. He specializes in treating patients with knee, shoulder and hip pain, as well as general orthopedics and hand surgery. For more information, visit www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.

Dr. John C. Kagan and his staff are ready to answer all of your questions regarding post-surgical physical therapy. Dr. Kagan has more than 30 years of experience as an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist treating patients in Southwest Florida. He specializes in treating patients with knee, shoulder and hip pain, as well as general orthopedics and hand surgery. For more information, visit www.kaganortho.com or call 239-936-6778.

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