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KIRSTEN LUPINSKI: Have a healthy holiday season

HEALTH AND FITNESS: Make sure the holiday fun does not remove health and exercise from your to-do list

Kirsten Lupinski

Kirsten Lupinski

Let me start off by letting everyone know that it is not too late to get your flu shot. The benefits of getting your annual flu shot far outweigh the little stick that you will have to endure. Not only will you be protected against the flu, but you will also protect those around you.

There is still time to get your shot and it is easier than ever. Not only can you get them at your physician’s office or local health department, but you can also get one at Publix, CVS and Walgreen’s. So, if you have not gotten your flu shot yet, don’t wait any longer and pay a visit to one of these places. You will not only do yourself a big favor, but all those around you.

Often times our exercise program and daily routine get pushed to the back of the to-do list around this time of the year. We are all busy and can come up with a million excuse not to exercise or to “just take a few days” off. But those few days turn into a few weeks and then before we know it is January 1st and we feel like we are starting all over again.

Don’t let this time of the year sidetrack your exercise program. I am not giving you permission to stop exercising, but maybe just to cut back a bit and fit it in when you can. There are always a few minute that you can spare to walk around the block or park further away from the door when you are shopping. These are just a few ways to fit in a few minutes. And remember that the minutes will add up and anything is better than nothing.

I wrote about this last year at this time, but it is worth revisiting this year in the hope that you have all been getting plenty of physical activity during the past year and need some extra motivation this time of the year. I have mentioned in my previous columns all the parks and recreation areas in Albany and this time of year is a great time to visit.

The summer crowds are gone and they offer a chance to “play” like a kid again, with your kids, of course. But you can stay right in your own yard or house for that matter and get some activity in.

Simple things like building an obstacle course in the yard (or inside on cold or rainy days) will give you all something to do together and have fun at the same time (and, of course, get in some activity). Kids will do anything that gives them the opportunity to be creative and get adults to participate with them.

I have built many obstacle courses in my yard with my three kids. Some ideas are using jump ropes and having to jump a certain amount of time, dribbling a basketball so many times, throwing a Frisbee until it crosses a line, running around cones, riding a bike so far and having to turn around.

These ideas are just a few that I have used in the past. But use your imagination and your kids to come up with a variety of different options. But remember to take time and enjoy the holiday season but enjoy it being active and healthy. Happy Holidays!

Kirsten Lupinski is an assistant professor at Albany State University in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Department. She has a B.S. in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina, an M.S. in Health Education from the University of Kentucky and a doctorate in Education from the University of Cincinnati. She has worked in the health education field in various capacities (corporate health, community health, college health and wellness and university education) for more than 15 years. She and her husband have three young children (5-year-old twin sons and a 2-year-old daughter).