With the festive party season in full swing and holidays just around the corner, physios are urging everyone to take extra caution, to stay safe, injury-free and happy this Christmas. The best Christmas present you can yourself and family is; Your Health.
Physiotherapists see many common musculoskeletal conditions occurring over the Christmas break as people tend to push their bodies. Whether it’s spraining your ankle in high heels at a Christmas party, a musculoskeletal injury from an intense run along the beach after months of inactivity, or low back pain from driving for long distances or lying poorly on the couch watching the Boxing Day Test, there are a range of injuries to watch out for this season.
In order to enjoy a healthy and injury-free holiday, your Physio is encouraging you to focus on your health, both physically and mentally.
Avoid sitting for long periods The holiday season can be a time where many Australians spend lying on the couch recovering from a large Christmas lunch or spent driving long distances to holiday destinations. Physical inactivity or low levels of physical activity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide¹. Avoid sitting in one spot for more than 30 minutes without a short break. Get up and move about for at least two minutes every 20-30 minutes. Regular changes in posture have been shown improve comfort and reduce the risk of musculoskeletal injuries.
Buy gifts that encourage physical activity This Christmas, rather than getting your kids an iPod, consider a present like a cricket bat or a netball that will encourage physical activity and ultimately leading to lifestyle choices in the long run. Active Healthy Kids Australia’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children has identified that worldwide, children’s fitness has been declining at the rate of 3% to 5% per decade since 1970, with Australian kids now in the bottom third of the world in fitness and inactivity. ²
Get active Getting a little more physical activity into your day doesn’t have to be a chore. Dust off the bicycles and go for a ride, plan a bushwalk or simply limit your couch time get up and get moving. If unsure what physical activity is right for you or your child’s age and experience, your physiotherapist can assess physical and motor development and suggest appropriate options.
Start slowly and build up To avoid any injuries from getting out and active, it’s best to start slowly and gradually build up.
Don’t ignore the pain If you do injure yourself over the holidays, don’t ignore the pain, see your physiotherapist. Physiotherapists are highly qualified and trained to assess and treat all sorts of injuries and will help you get back on the beach again.
 The Department of Health, Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour : Research and Statistics, accessed at http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/health-pubhlth-strateg-active-evidence.htm
 Report Card, Report Card on Physical Activity for Children, the Active Healthy Kids Australia, 2014