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Make a plan to have a healthy holiday

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Haley Gouin teaches a Water in Motion class at the Northern Lights YMCA Delta Program Center recently.

ESCANABA — The holiday season has arrived, and people in the area may not think they have time to focus on their health during this busy time of year. However, Northern Lights YMCA Delta Program Center Membership and Marketing Director Hadele Peacock said there are a few simple things people can do over the coming weeks to be both happy and healthy.

Due to the hustle and bustle of the holidays, Peacock said many people put dieting and exercise on the backburner in December.

“Really focus on setting some time aside to focus on (your) health and wellness,” she said.

Although it is common for people to start a new exercise routine at the start of the new year, Peacock said there is no need to wait.

“Now would be a good time to get started, because it is proven exercise is a stress reducer,” she said.

Peacock encouraged people interested in beginning an exercise routine to get started by taking five-minute walks around their block before gradually increasing the lengths of their walks.

“(That’s) one of the easiest and lowest-cost forms of exercise,” she said.

People can also schedule work-out sessions on their calendars and do short bouts of exercise — between 10 and 30 minutes of activities such as running, jogging, walking, and high-intensity interval training — to fit some physical activity into their packed schedules.

Smart dietary choices are another important element of overall health. Peacock said it can be difficult to stick to a nutritious diet during the holidays, thanks to parties where rich foods, fried foods, sweets and alcoholic beverages are served.

“It’s a very tempting time of year,” she said.

Still, she noted people can enjoy these treats in moderation.

“Keep (your) portions small and just try not to overindulge,” Peacock said.

Eating healthy snacks, planning out meals ahead of time and staying hydrated can help people stay healthy during the holidays, as well.

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