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Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
Reduce Stress
Improved immune function
Achieving ideal weight.
Improved sugar metabolism

 Naturopathic Medicine: Handling the Holidays Healthfully 

Taking brisk walks during the holiday season is one of the single, most important things you can do for yourself. Getting out in the crisp air renews the spirit and calms the mind. It strengthens muscles all over your body, including your heart. And it increases the rate of calcium deposition into the bones, thus decreasing your risk of osteoporosis, now epidemic in older women.

If you are in the habit of more vigorous aerobic exercise, then by all means, do continue it as much as possible. However, if you don't exercise regularly, this is not the best time to enter into a new, strenuous program. A 20 to 30 minute walk each day will provide numerous benefits now and prepare you to begin a more vigorous exercise program geared towards establishing your ideal weight in January. Here is the formula for calculating your Target HeartRate and tips on exercise during the holidays:

220 (baseline number)
- your age ( ie. 40 yrs.)
= Maximum heart rate (180 beats per minute)
X (multiplied) 60% and 80%= Target Heart Rate (T .H.R.)

60% T.H. R. = 108 b.p.m. 80% T.H.R.= 144 b.p.m.

So, 60% of your maximum heart rate is the lowest heart rate you can exercise at to be in an aerobic range, while 80% should be the fastest your heart should beat during aerobic exercise. Your heart rate should never exceed 80% of its maximum. And if it is at less than 60% of its maximum, you are probably getting very little aerobic benefit out of your exercise. Be sure to sustain this target heart rate for 20 to 30 minutes.

(1) Take a walk every day during December.
(2) Exercise before you go out to socialize. It will increase your
feelings of well-being and decrease your appetite for an hour or two. Drink
two glasses of pure water after exercising.
(3) Taking a walk within two hours after overeating.

Almost everyone experiences a sense of total frustration at one point during the holiday season. However, an increasing number of people suffer from an actual, recognized syndrome called "holiday depression". This depression stems from our having unrealistic expectations of what this season will provide for us. These expectations are based on childhood fantasies of Christmas' or Hannukas when we were young. Remember back to those early years with lots of presents and surprises. We spent time with Mom in the kitchen making and eating lots of candy and sweets. There was time off from school with little responsibility. In essence, we were totally taken care of during this time of year.

Things are different today. We are the care-givers. We are the ones spending endless hours and countless dollars trying to fulfil our own fantasies and the fantasies of others. We've fallen victim to advertising promoting almost blind consumerism, leaving us exhausted, broke and wondering what is missing.

What's missing from the holiday season is the Spirit of the holidays.What we're all looking for now is the energy, enthusiasm and unconditional love that we felt as children; something our current model can't give us. In essence, we've forgotten who we are as spiritual beings, one with our Source. And we're feeling a sense of separation, which inevitably leads to depression.

The remedy is simple: spend some time reconnecting to your spiritual side. Remember that we are all vibrant, whole, complete and perfect, when we tune into God as our Life-Source.

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 About The Author
Sally LaMont NDDr. Sally Blake LaMont is a naturopathic doctor, acupuncturist, and educator who has devoted the last twenty-seven years to practicing and teaching the principles of healthy living. She blends the science of......more
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