As the big man himself prepares once again for his night of special deliveries, Main Line Health offers some tips for him to stay jolly and fit.
“It’s very important that Santa gets plenty of rest prior to his journey,” says Eric Levicoff, MD, Rothman Orthopedic Surgeon at Bryn Mawr Hospital. “He can also prepare by doing some healthy stretching. Stretching is an important component of a fitness routine for seniors. Combined with strength training and aerobic exercises, stretching can help Santa maintain his energy throughout the long night.”
Santa should also make sure to visit his primary care physician for his annual physical prior to his outing. Thomas Lawrence, MD, Main Line HealthCare primary care physician and System Medical Director of Geriatric Medicine and Long-Term Care at Main Line Health, offers more healthy tips for Santa:
- Santa should know his numbers. This means that he should know his blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose levels so he can be sure that they are well managed, not only for his health during his Christmas excursion, but all year long. All of these factors can increase Santa’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease and other serious health complications.
- Santa should opt for carrots instead of cookies. Skipping some of those sugary snacks can help Santa avoid weight gain that could lead to conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Statistics show that 50 percent of adults older than 65 have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
- Stick to the low-fat or skim milk. It’s a good source of vitamin D and calcium, which can help keep his bones strong and limit his risk of osteoporosis.
- Don’t forget the seat belt! According to the CDC, seat belts save more than 13,000 lives every year, making them the most effective safety device for preventing traffic deaths or injuries.
- In addition to the red suit and hat, Santa should really add a few layers of clothing, a scarf, mittens, a water-resistant coat and a good pair of boots. If he’s not bundled correctly in the cold temperatures, it could result in hypothermia.
- Santa should also be careful getting into and out of his sleigh. Even though we will be having a warmer than usual holiday in our area, Santa may be venturing to snowy and icy destinations around the globe. Moving slowly and wearing sturdy, rubber-soled boots can help him not to slip and fall.
“Although these tips are directed toward Santa, they can really apply to all of our aging community,” adds Dr. Lawrence. “To maintain a healthy lifestyle, it’s important for older adults to have regular check-ups with a primary care doctor and to have regular health screenings.”