Window shopping is ideal not only when you’re on a tight budget but also in your journey to good health.
The Department of Health (DOH) yesterday advised merrymakers to squeeze in some exercise throughout the season even as the El Niño weather pattern is expected to aggravate holiday-related illnesses.
In a press briefing, Health Secretary Janette Garin said the warm temperature enveloping the country due to the El Niño phenomenon is expected to exacerbate the threat of heart attacks, hypertension, acute gout attacks and diabetes, which usually peak during the Christmas season.
“Walking around the mall is recommended but don’t spend too much. Doing some window shopping will help you get the exercise you need during this time when we are eating a lot of food,” she said.
Garin warned that all the binge eating, partying and drinking can make people susceptible to illnesses if they don’t make time to exercise.
She said people tend to be sluggish and forgo some of their daily activities that involve too much movement in sweltering temperature.
“During the holidays, we eat a lot of food, especially the unhealthy ones, and this is now being complicated by El Niño because when the weather is hot, we don’t want to walk around, we get too lazy to exercise but we continue to eat,” she said.
The health agency and hospitals usually observe a spike in the number of cases of heart illnesses among Filipinos during the Christmas season, celebrated the longest in the Philippines, due to endless partying and eating.
Every year, health experts try to caution Filipinos to eat and drink in moderation at Christmastime to curb the increasing prevalence of lifestyle-related diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes and diabetes.
These diseases—which are linked to the most common risk factors, such as smoking, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and drinking alcohol—are the top leading causes of death in the country.
She also advised those with preexisting health conditions to take it easy on their food consumption during the holiday festivities this year because the weather can aggravate their illness.
Garin said the humid weather could elevate one’s blood pressure and may trigger heart attacks among those with hypertension while those with diabetes can become dehydrated when they sweat profusely, leading to a rise in their blood sugar.
If overflowing banquets cannot be avoided during the Christmas season, Garin advised the public to chew their food well and eat slowly to give the body enough time to send the signal of fullness to the brain.
Research has shown that it takes about 20 minutes from the time one starts to eat for the brain to send out signals of satiation.
To minimize holiday stress, Garin encouraged Filipinos to get enough rest and sleep and to prepare ahead to avoid the rush.