Your joints are responsible for keeping you moving. The holiday season is not when you want to be hampered by occasional joint discomfort. A healthy routine with balanced nutrition, regular exercise, and stress management helps promote long-term joint health. 

However, overindulgence, everyday stress, and less motivation to exercise are the three major ingredients that make up the recipe for poor joint health during the holiday season. 

Despite this, it’s important to remember that small changes through the holidays can have a big impact on joint health. The tips below will help you maintain healthy joints without missing out on the magic of the season. 

Holiday Eating

We all indulge a bit over the holidays, and that’s not a problem, as long as you strive for balance. One of the most important things to watch is your sodium intake. Sodium may cause you to retain water, increasing pressure on your joints, contributing to occasional joint discomfort. 

You also need to limit processed sugars and saturated fats, which can be a difficult task with all the holiday desserts. You can still dig in, but try smaller portions, choose fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds for snacks, and add a few extra minutes to your exercise routine that week. 

Small portions of healthy food in the Holiday Season

Monitor Alcohol Intake

Along with all the sweets you can imagine, the holidays are often a time when people consume more alcohol. Over time, excessive alcohol intake can lead to dehydration which can cause occasional joint stiffness and soreness. 

Many holiday beverages, such as eggnog, punch, wine, mixed drinks, and ciders are also high in sugar, altering the gut microbiome balance and affecting joint health through unwelcome immune responses. 

Be mindful and participate in the annual toast or have a small glass of wine with dinner. Then switch to water or festive non-alcoholic beverages such as hot apple cider, cinnamon tea, peppermint tea, tea lattes, and hot cocoa. 

Keep Moving

Our routines tend to get disrupted over the holidays, but if there is any way to maintain your exercise routine, it can be good for your joints. All you need is a quick 5 to 10-minute home exercise to help support and maintain flexibility and mobility. 

Low impact exercises such as stretching and yoga, swimming, elliptical machines, and exercise bikes can all help to promote joint health and reduce occasional joint discomfort. 

Walking is arguably one of the best exercises for your joints, and the perfect time to go for a walk is after a big holiday meal. So instead of taking a nap, enlist your family to go for walks to enjoy the lights and decorations in the neighborhood.

Travel Wisely

If traveling is on the itinerary for the holiday season, be sure to take care of your joints while you’re on the road. Plan your trips to make the journey as comfortable as possible. 

Water droplets in the form of a Christmas tree to remind you to stay hydrated

If you are driving, plan to take regular breaks to get out and stretch. If others are traveling with you, share driving time so everyone has time to relax. Most importantly, stay hydrated and make sure you bring healthy snacks like nuts and seeds to keep you nourished. 

If you are traveling on a plane, pack light and only bring the essentials, and make sure you have plenty of water and healthy snacks. You may also want to wear compression stockings to promote proper circulation and reduce occasional discomfort. Instead of carrying a heavy bag, use a rolling suitcase. If there are layovers, plan to walk around the airport to keep moving and on longer flights, take some time to walk up and down the aisle when you can.

Stay Warm

Depending on where you live, your holiday season may include cold weather, which can cause joint discomfort. It is important to stay warm to keep your joints flexible and happy. Wear layers, including long underwear, sweaters and jackets, hats, scarves, gloves, and winter boots if you are headed outdoors. When indoors, keep your socks or slipper on and set your household thermostat to a comfortable temperature.

Elderly couple in their warm clothes outside enjoying the Holiday Season

Something Extra for the Holidays

Treat yourself to comprehensive joint health this holiday season and for the rest of your life. 1MD Nutrition™ offers two powerful formulas designed to promote joint mobility and flexibility and help stop everyday aches from slowing you down. 

MoveMD® is a comprehensive formula to support joint health, with clinically-studied ApresFlex® Boswellia Serrata to support flexibility and mobility and the powerful antioxidant properties of Zanthin®​ Natural Astaxanthin to help occasional joint discomfort. The addition of advanced collagen and hyaluronic acid support cartilage synthesis and joint fluid viscosity for optimal mobility. 

CurcuminMD® Plus helps relieve occasional sore, stiff joints by combining Longvida® Optimized Curcumin, which is absorbed up to 285 times more efficiently than standard turmeric, with Boswellia Serrata.

Final Thoughts

‘Tis the season for healthy joints. Even with the best intentions, it can be tempting to overeat, and with all the parties and family visits, who has time for exercise. With these tips, you can still enjoy the festivities and maintain healthy joints for an active lifestyle and holiday season. So, give your joints the gift of care this season with these simple tips and the comprehensive support of 1MD Nutrition’s joint-health supplements.

Dr. Adam Kreitenberg

Dr. Adam Kreitenberg is dual board-certified in both rheumatology and internal medicine. He completed his internal medicine internship, residency, and rheumatology fellowship at the University of Southern California and Los Angeles County Medical Center.

‡ Measured using AUC normalized