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Fitness still essential throughout holidays

SEYMOUR JOHNSON AIR FORCE BASE, N.C. -- The holiday season is upon us, and so begins the epic battles over the best pieces of turkey or ham. With these inevitable factors around the corner, the concern is there regarding maintaining weight and physical fitness.

"It's important to keep yourself healthy year round, especially around the holidays," said Master Sgt. Thomas Cole, health and wellness center NCO-in-charge. "This is the time of the year where we normally put on extra pounds because the types of foods and the way we prepare them cause the food to be higher in calories than normal."

The goal over the holiday is to maintain, not gain, weight, but it can be a daunting task, according to Sgt. Cole.

"The main thing to watch over the holidays is portion control," Sgt. Cole said. "But make sure to eat a variety of foods. The more variety you can get out of your whole-grain products, fruits and vegetables, the more nutrients you'll get."

Good holiday health doesn't stop at eating healthy. Finding time for exercise within the holiday hustle and bustle is essential in maintaining the "fit to fight" standard.

"If someone knows they're going to be eating a lot over the holidays, then they must compensate for it by exercising," said Arletta Thompson, exercise physiologist. "Take a walk, walk the dog, or exercise an extra day out of the week."

If a person doesn't own a dog, then there are other methods to keep in shape.
"Another option is to wear a step counter," Ms. Thompson said. "Set a goal for 10,000-12,000 steps a day. Two-thousand steps is the equivalent of one mile."

For those who have families, it's simply a matter of finding a way to get them involved, according to Ms. Thompson.

All the television and movie junkies can also fight the battle of the bulge.

"If you're sitting around watching football, do push ups, crunches or sit ups during commercials," Ms. Thompson said. "Or, you can watch a movie while on an exercise ball."

Regardless what is done to maintain weight and physical fitness throughout the holidays, the goal has not changed. Fit to fight is what is right.
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