Father Christmas’ Festive DOs and DON’Ts
Father Christmas isn’t known for being fat and jolly for no reason. He brings joy to millions every Christmas time, but is he putting himself at risk in doing so?
Keeping ‘elf and safety’ this Christmas season in mind, experts from health therapy provider, ‘Oakwood Physiotherapy and MBST at S20 Physique’, share a list of Santa-inspired festive dos and don’ts to help you stay fit and well this Christmas.
You can also view the list here http://christmas-mbst-therapy.co.uk/ on an interactive clicky Santa.
- “I’m sure it gets bloomin’ heavier every year” – DON’T!
Santa’s enormous sack full of toys and gifts? Amazing the quantity it can carry, but look at how he is holding it. All the weight on one shoulder will increase the strain on his back and put him at risk of back pain. He would be better off with a supportive, double-strapped bag, with even weight distribution. Anyone who is doing heavy lifting this Christmas should take care to keep their back straight and lift by bending their knees.
- “His boots are made for walking” – DO!
It’s not all bad news! Santa is always spotted in his supportive, sturdy boots. Good shoes help our skeleton, and with a 36-hour shift, Father Christmas needs to make sure he is protecting his feet and the rest of him with well-fitting, impact-absorbing footwear. Christmas can often bring an increase in high heel wearing with lots of festive parties (although perhaps fewer this year!), which in turn increases the risk of injury, especially in icy conditions. Choose your footwear wisely to minimise the chance of damage.
- “Roly-poly, fat and round” – DON’T!
It’s no secret that Christmas is the season of excess consumption, and no-one embodies that more than Father Christmas, who will ingest an estimated* 400 billion calories in one night! However, the more overweight we are, the more strain is placed on our joints, so it’s important to maintain a balanced diet, even with all the tempting goodies available at this time of year.
- “He’s dressed real warm from his head to his toes” – DO!
And Santa is no exception here. He wraps up warm for his global travels, covering all of his joints and limbs in that cosy red suit, complete with furry hat! Keeping layers of warm clothing on our body in colder months helps to minimise our aches and pains and keep joints and muscles relaxed and healthy.
- “She’d been drinkin’ too much eggnog” – DON’T!
Father Christmas loves a festive tipple, and is expected* to enjoy nearly 3 billion units of alcohol on Christmas Eve alone! Should he really be driving that sleigh? Alcohol can increase inflammation and risk of injury if we over-indulge, plus it’s not at all good for our vital organs. Don’t follow Santa’s example, enjoy a drink in moderation and keep well hydrated.
- “He’s making a list, checking it twice” – DO!
A busy, full-on schedule can lead to stress which can have a hugely negative impact on the body, causing a lack of sleep, reduction in bodily functions such as metabolism, and making poor diet choices. Santa combats this by being organised, using his dedicated team of Elves to support him, and taking a nice long break after Christmas Eve!
- “You’ll find it hard to sleep tonight” – DON’T!
Staying up all night is somewhat unavoidable for Santa, however most of us aren’t going to be delivering presents to 2.26 billion homes in one night. So there is no excuse for burning the midnight oil! Sleep time is when our body naturally rests and regenerates, strengthening our immune system and restoring our energy. Though Father Christmas sets a bad example on this one, try to avoid all-nighters and aim for around eight hours of good-quality sleep a night.
- “I believe in turnin’ negatives to positives in life” – DO!
Is there another character who embodies happiness and positivity more than Father Christmas? He spreads joy wherever he goes and encourages people to be their best selves. A positive mindset, self-belief and investment in mental wellbeing is just as important as physical health. By staying aware of the things we can be grateful for in life and believing in ourselves, we can turn negatives into positives, which will have a fantastic impact on our wellbeing as a whole.
- “Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh” – DON’T!
Santa may be whizzing around the world in one night, but he spends a lot of time sitting in one position in his sleigh, which is not good for his body. Something a lot of us can relate to with desk-bound jobs, especially if we’re working from home right now! It’s vital to take lots of breaks away from your screen and keep your body limber by standing up, moving around and stretching. It’s possible that Santa does everything possible to maintain fitness, but it doesn’t look like it! Drink plenty of water, take short breaks and get outside every day for some exercise to get the heart pumping and for some fresh air – which at least Santa gets plenty of!
- “Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice” – DO or DON’T?
You decide! Father Christmas is COVID-conscious… or is he? He maintains social distancing guidelines and stays within his (very big) bubble. He also wears gloves to help with hygiene – however should he switch to candy cane scented hand sanitiser? Perhaps he could benefit from a mask as well. Finally, naughty St Nick isn’t quarantining upon arrival! Is he a COVID risk? Your call.
Stay safe and healthy, and have a very Merry Christmas!