Staying safe, fit this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Michael Washburn
  • 355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
It's that time again. Christmas trees with lights and ornaments are on display in houses across the country. Songs of holiday cheer fill the airwaves and Santa's converge on shopping centers, patiently listening to the wishes of little children.

The holidays can be a great time for visiting with family and friends, so this season is often synonymous with traveling. The holidays are also a time when people often forget about fitness. Whether someone travels by plane or car, taking the proper precautions can ensure a safe and enjoyable getaway.

"When traveling, check the weather conditions for wherever the final destination may be," said Tech. Sgt. Ross Weatherford, 355th Fighter Wing Safety Office ground safety technician. "Leave early and have plenty of extra time for traffic delays. It's also very important to check your car's lights, tires and fluid levels if driving. Lastly, keep some emergency items in the car in case of a crash, such as water bottles and blankets. Make sure to also check for flight delays if taking a plane."

One of the other hazards when celebrating the holiday season is the Christmas tree. Fire is the main hazard.

"If someone is looking to get a fake Christmas tree, they need to make sure the tree is fire resistant," Weatherford said. "If someone buys a real tree, make sure it is fresh. If it's too old, the needles could be dry and more prone to catch fire. Tree lights can also be a problem. Check to see if there are any frayed wires or broken lights and don't overload circuits."

During the holidays, make sure your house and belongings are safe from crooks looking for some free presents.

"Double check locks on the windows and doors," Weatherford said. "Keep the blinds closed so no one can look inside your house. When bringing home presents, park in the garage if possible and then unload the presents from the car."

The holiday season is not always fun and games, it can be a battle. The holiday season begins the war of the waist line. With cold weather, family and delicious things to eat, exercise can often become scarce. To help reduce the chance of packing on the pounds, Guy Leahy, Health and Wellness Center exercise physiologist, shares a couple tips for exercise during the holidays.

"During the holidays, we tend to let our guard down when it comes to exercise and diet," Leahy said. "People tend to say 'It's the holidays, so I can splurge a bit.' The problem is they don't start working out again and so the weight just builds up."

For someone who enjoys aerobic exercises, this can pose an issue.

"There's a big difference in stopping exercises completely versus lowering the frequency but having the same intensity of the workout," Leahy said. "If someone stops entirely, they can lose up to 50 percent of your aerobic fitness level in eight weeks. If they reduce the frequency but maintain intensity, they can pretty much keep the same fitness level. For the holiday season, this could be critical for weight control. For example, if someone works out three days a week for 30 minutes and decreased their workouts to one day a week for the same time, they could keep their fitness level."

With the weather getting colder and maybe the chance of snow, those who enjoy exercising outdoors need to be aware of the dangers faced with outside activities.

"If someone is exercising outside, they need to stay hydrated," Leahy said. "They may think that with the cold weather they won't sweat, but they still lose water. They need to replenish the water lost to prevent dehydration."

During this holiday season, enjoy all the good food and company. But don't forget to stay active and most importantly, stay safe.