Christmas celebrations turned sour when 11 people died and over 300 were hospitalized in the Philippines after drinking a batch of poisonous coconut wine, local police said on Monday.
Walk or Run<p>For those who don't have access to a cardio machine over the holidays, the solution is straightforward.</p><p>Do your cardio routine the old-fashioned way and go outside for a walk or run.</p><p>"If you're traveling somewhere where it's warm and you can go outside to walk or jog or anything like that, it's a nice option," <a href="https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/sports-medicine/team/physical-therapists/dr-ebner" target="_blank">D.R. Ebner</a>, PT, SCS, a physical therapist at The Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told Healthline.</p><p>Even if it's chilly outside, bundling up and going for a brisk stroll is a good way to walk off that rich <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/christmas" rel="noopener noreferrer">Christmas</a> dinner and take in the lights while shedding some calories in the process.</p><p>A 20-minute walk can cover about a mile, which can burn off about <a href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/walking-for-weight-loss#section3" target="_blank">100 calories</a>, depending on a person's sex and weight.</p>
Resistance Bands<p>It's tough to take a weight training routine on the road.</p><p>It just isn't practical to pack bulky, heavy dumbbells into your luggage and there's no guarantee that your holiday destination will have alternatives.</p><p><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercises/easy-resistance-band-exercises" target="_blank">Resistance bands</a> may not be able to provide the same heavy lifting workout as dumbbells, but they do offer something similar in a lightweight form that can fit into the palm of your hand.</p><p>"The easiest thing that anyone can do, as most research has shown, is resistance training, which helps increase metabolic rate," said Zarabi. "It doesn't mean you need to go to a gym and use a machine or lift dumbbells. Resistance bands, which are easily portable, are something you can throw in your luggage. They come in different colors for different intensity levels."</p>
Create a Stop-Gap Program<p>Anyone who has a daily fitness routine knows that traveling can throw things into chaos.</p><p>Rather than struggling to replicate your current program, or haphazardly fit workouts into your day, Ebner says it's helpful to establish a new routine for the days you're away from home.</p><p>This might entail doing exercises you don't usually do or adapting to your surroundings.</p><p>"You may not have a ton of space," he said. "But you can do workouts like pushups, jumping jacks, and situps."</p><p>"You can do, for instance, 10 pushups, and then some bodyweight squats and some lunges," Ebner noted. "You can repeat that two or three times and commit 10 or 15 minutes to it. Work hard, but keep it sustainable."</p>
Look Online<p>To add to his point of adapting to different surroundings, Ebner suggests going online to look for inspiration.</p><p>"On YouTube, there are all kinds of workout videos — anything from yoga to calisthenics," he said.</p><p>"If you're trying to fit an exercise in and you're not sure what to do, you can find guided routines where it's all spelled out for you and you can follow along," he added. "You don't have to overthink it."</p>
Don’t Sweat It<p>Even if there's enough space and equipment to work out, sometimes there just aren't enough hours in the day when you factor in the social commitments of the holiday season.</p><p>Zarabi says it's good to approach the season with a goal not of losing weight, but maintaining your current weight.</p><p>This strategy even allows for some indulgences, provided they're reasonable.</p><p>"I always like to enforce the 80/20 rule: be good 80 percent of the time and enjoy the desserts and holiday treats 20 percent of the time," she explained. "Indulging on Christmas Day or at holiday parties is not enough to derail you from your lifestyle. It's the accumulation of what you do over the long term that really impacts your weight loss efforts."</p><p>Following the indulgent, or over-indulgent festive season, many of us make New Year's resolutions in an effort to improve things moving forward.</p><p>Instead of setting lofty goals for the new year, Zarabi suggests a more measured approach.</p><p>"If your resolution is better health, don't make it about the number on the scale," she said. "A lot of us judge ourselves by a size or weight, disregarding the fact that we can fluctuate 5 to 7 pounds after a dinner party. It's best to weigh yourself first thing in the morning at a dry weight and try not to obsess over the marker."</p><p>"I think that people need to be a little more forgiving of themselves and just get back to the basics the next day, instead of waiting for the magic to happen on New Year's Day," she added.</p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
It's the holiday season again, and in the midst of making to-do lists and prepping for festive dinners, some people will once again ponder whether it is better for the environment to buy an artificial Christmas tree or to opt for the real thing.
A Decade to Grow or Keep<p>A natural tree of average size (2-2.5 metres tall, 10-15 years old) <a href="https://www.carbontrust.com/news/2013/01/christmas-tree-disposal-advice/" target="_blank">has a carbon footprint</a> of about 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) — about the same as driving a car 14 kilometres.</p><p>This footprint increases dramatically if the tree is sent to landfill. When it decomposes, it will produce methane, a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and generate a much larger footprint — close to 16 kilograms of CO2e. If the tree is <a href="https://toronto.citynews.ca/2008/01/03/how-to-dispose-of-your-christmas-tree/" target="_blank">composted or recycled</a>, a common practice in many major cities — the environmental footprint remains low.</p><p>By comparison, a <a href="https://www.carbontrust.com/news/2013/01/christmas-tree-disposal-advice/" target="_blank">two-metre tall artificial</a> tree has a carbon footprint of about 40 kilograms CO2e based on the production of the materials alone.</p>
Burning Trees<p>This gives ecologically minded Canadians some sense of the impacts of their choice. But other factors are also at play. Real trees are <a href="https://www.narcity.com/news/ca/christmas-trees-in-canada-are-running-low-and-prices-are-rising" target="_blank">becoming scarce and more expensive</a>. In the U.S., the average price of a real tree in 2019 has <a href="https://fortune.com/2019/12/02/christmas-trees-2019/" target="_blank">increased to $78 from $75 in 2018</a>.</p><p>Weather has taken a toll on Christmas trees. In the U.S., hot weather and too much rain are considered contributing factors to a <a href="https://www.today.com/news/tight-supply-christmas-trees-could-mean-higher-prices-t167619" target="_blank">shortage of trees</a>, and wildfires <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/a-wildfire-wiped-out-their-christmas-tree-farm-and-livelihood-now-they-wonder-what-to-do-next/2018/12/21/966080cc-023d-11e9-9122-82e98f91ee6f_story.html" target="_blank">damaged or destroyed some farms</a>. Heat waves in 2017 and 2018 killed <a href="https://www.kgw.com/article/news/local/christmas-tree-shortage/283-682f4617-5af6-42f3-b9b8-575cf8dfc1ba" target="_blank">young seedlings in Oregon</a> and will impact tree supply in years to come.</p>
Oh, Christmas Tree<p>Economics has also played a role in tree availability. Today's trees were planted around the time of the Great Recession of 2008.</p><p>The impacts of this economic downturn were far-reaching in the industry. As demand fell during those years, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/02/us/christmas-tree-shortage-demand-supply-trnd/index.html" target="_blank">many growers went out of business</a>. This reduced the number of trees planted and contributed to the scarcity in today's Christmas tree marketplace.</p><p>The Canadian Christmas Tree Growers Association has shrunk dramatically in the past 15 years — from <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/6282405/canada-christmas-trees-shortage/" target="_blank">300 members to about 80 today</a>.</p><p>Is it time to give up on real Christmas trees?</p><p>Holiday trees provide <a href="https://treecanada.ca/blog/why-buying-a-fake-christmas-tree-just-doesnt-cut-it/" target="_blank">wildlife habitat, protect soil, moderate floods and drought, filter air and sequester carbon while they grow</a>. Tree farms also provide local economic benefits that don't come with foreign-made products.</p>
By Sharon Elber
You may have heard that giving a pet for Christmas is just a bad idea. Although many people believe this myth, according to the ASPCA, 86 percent of adopted pets given as gifts stay in their new homes. These success rates are actually slightly higher than average adoption/rehoming rates. So, if done well, giving an adopted pet as a Christmas gift can work out.
1. The right fit is more important than the right time.<p>One mistake to avoid when <a href="https://www.wileypup.com/why-adopt-a-shelter-dog/" target="_blank">deciding to rescue a dog</a> over the holidays is to force the timing while compromising on the right fit for your lifestyle. Important considerations like breed mix and/or personality type can be neglected as families rush to adopt and make a selection from the limited options available at that specific time. </p> <p>The holidays are a busy time for animal shelters which can cause the selection of dogs to wane in the weeks leading up to Christmas in particular. It is a mistake to adopt a dog simply to check the box. Instead, carefully consider your family's lifestyle and work with a shelter and/or foster and breed rescue groups in your area to find a canine companion with the right personality, exercise needs and training requirements for your family. </p> <p>Consider offering an "Adopt a Dog" coupon if you can't find the right fit in time for the big day. This will give your children the excitement of knowing a new furry addition to the family is on the way, while also offering the benefit of getting them involved in the selection process. Dog toys in advance of your new dog's arrival also make great stocking stuffers.</p>
2. Make sure to budget for post adoption expenses.<p>The adoption fee often covers the cost of any vaccinations and/or spay/neutering that your rescued dog has already had prior to adoption. However, it is important to schedule a vet visit within a few weeks of your adoption, make sure your new family member is up to date on vaccines, and cover the initial cost of monthly medications such as heartworm and flea/tick prevention. These costs can easily mount to $300 or more, so be sure your post-holiday budget has room for these costs. </p> <p>In addition, you will have food, toys and bedding costs that always spike when adopting a new dog. Allow for these costs as well or incorporate them into your other gift purchases this year.</p>
3. Build a holiday schedule that accounts for the needs of your new pet.<p>Rehoming is generally a stressful time for animals in the rescue system. Often unsure if they have found a permanent home or just another temporary location, dogs can be prone to developing anxiety issues if transitions are not handled with care. </p> <p>If you have holiday travel plans, it might be better to wait until the new year to adopt. Bringing a dog home only to drop them off at the kennel a few days later is not the best idea for your new pet. Instead, plan a "<a href="https://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/dog-friendly-travel-staycation-ideas%20" target="_blank">staycation</a>" if you adopt a dog this holiday season and make sure to schedule time for dog-focused events such as extra walks, training sessions and fun games like fetch and tug.</p>
4. Get the kids involved in the care of your new pet.<p>Depending on your child's age, taking on some level of responsibility for the care and training of the new member of your family is critical. This helps them to learn valuable lessons about caring for animals, responsibility, as well as offering a chance to build a human/animal bond built on trust and respect. </p> <p>For example, children ages 3 - 5 years old can assist with daily care routines such as feeding, checking water and walking your dog. Older children can participate in training sessions and take on more responsibilities like joining in on puppy classes. Dogs need daily exercise and mental stimulation, so consider creating a responsibility calendar for kids so everyone in the household has a part in caring for your pet.</p>
5. Look beyond the shelter for adoptable dogs.<p>Finally, if you visit the shelter and don't find the dog you are looking for, do some research to locate other adoption options in your community. For example, there are many breed rescue organizations devoted to saving particular dog breeds from kill shelters, puppy mills and abandonment. In addition, many communities have networks of volunteers devoted to fostering dogs until they find their forever homes that you may find on social networks or by a basic internet search.</p> <p>One big advantage of going through these volunteer organizations before adopting a dog for Christmas is that they have direct experience living with the dog in a home setting. This means they can speak honestly and knowledgeably about any special needs, compatibility with other pets in the household, or suitability for your family's lifestyle, dog friendly amenities (such as a fenced yard), and dog ownership experience.</p> <p>Giving your kids an adopted dog at Christmastime is about more than watching their faces light up with joy when they receive their new pet. With a little planning and consideration, you can make sure your adopted dog is a good fit for your family so that the joy your new pet bring extends way beyond the holiday season.</p>
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By Stuart Butler
Christmas is just around the corner and with it flying reindeer and over-sized turkeys, carol singing and tinsel covered trees. The holiday season also means wine-drinking (and the younger and more excited your children, the more bottles of wine you'll likely require). For those of us who imbibe, it's almost impossible to imagine a Christmas without wine. It would be like a Christmas without a fat man in a red suit trying to squeeze down the chimney.
By Andy Rowell
For many people in the Northern Hemisphere who celebrate Christmas, the iconic image is one of snow or a Santa Claus driving a sleigh through the snow driven by reindeer.
Depending on which version of the Santa Claus story you read, his home is in the Arctic, possibly at the North Pole. Images of snowy Santas will adorn many holiday cards sent this year.