Food & Nutrition

Shape Up After Festive Eating

by On Dec 28, 2012
Shape Up After Festive Eating

To those struggling to lose weight, the holidays usually spell nothing but trouble. Being constantly surrounded by delicious food throughout the season, it takes a lot of willpower to not start gobbling everything in sight.

There’s nothing to be ashamed about, over a little overeating. After all, the holidays are meant for you to enjoy yourself, and they only come around once a year. However, there are some, regardless, who will still feel guilty over their second helpings. Hitting the road for some extra serious distance running is a favourite way for them to atone for their mistakes. With the motivation of an upcoming new year’s resolution, they often attempt to push their physical limits in hopes of changing their lifestyle for the better.

But before you embark on this intensified routine, it would be wise to make sure your own body is in accord. Drastic lifestyle changes involve more than a mental decision. For example, taking up long distance running after a long period of inactivity requires a slow, progressive start to build up your endurance. Rushing it would usually bring about more negative results, rather than positive ones.

Intense exercise can tire your muscles and your cardiovascular system, increasing your fatigue levels as your body strains to keep up with the sudden demands. This can cause temporary changes to the heart’s structure, such as stretching tissue and specific biomarkers that may hint of heart injury.

These changes only last for a short while and leave no long-lasting harmful effects. Being constantly exposed, however, may lead to more permanent damage, such as heart scaring – leading to loss of cardiac muscular power, increasing the risk of heart rhythm problems and cardiac arrest.

Gorge In, Run Out?

It’s definitely not a fair trade-off, subjecting your body to such damages just to lose a few pounds. But that does not mean you should not exercise at all. These weight gains can add up as the years go by, if they are not lost during the post-holiday period, turning a minor problem into a major one.

A Little Goes a Long Way

That said, there’s no need to devote your entire lifestyle towards fitness. By simply exercising for as a little as 20 minutes three times a week, you can gain optimum health benefits without compromising your well-being and way of life.

So don’t worry about putting on a few calories this festive season. As long as you have a proper training schedule that both you and your heart can agree on with months of prior conditioning, give yourself another queue in the buffet line.

Dr. Dinesh Nair is a Senior Consultant Cardiologist at Mount Elizabeth Hospital and Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital. His subspecialty within Cardiology is in Interventional Cardiology where he actively practises newer, minimally invasive and complex treatment modalities. These include, complex angioplasty using the radial artery (wrist) approach, as opposed to the femoral (thigh) artery, allowing earlier mobility and discharge of the patient, and transcatheter aortic valve replacement, where the aortic valve is replaced without open heart surgery via an approach from the femoral (thigh) artery.

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