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Avoid These 6 Holiday-Time Dangers

Avoid These 6 Holiday-Time Dangers

It may well be the season to be jolly but actually Christmas and New Years come armed with plenty of dangers. Believe it or not, cold weather is responsible for the death rate increasing 20% from December to March.

The seasonal culprits include:

· Traffic accidents

· Cold weather and flu

· Food poisoning

· Accidents around the home

· Burglary

· Alcohol-related accidents

Let’s look at these dangers in more detail, and more importantly, ways to avoid them.

1. Traffic Accidents

There are more people on the roads during the holiday season caused by increased shopping trips and more people on the road journeying to see relatives. Add an increase of drunk drivers, icy conditions and cars not kitted out with winter tires – and you have a sharp increase in traffic accidents.

· Be extra careful – you can’t see black ice.

· Leave extra room between you and driver in front of you.

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· Other sensible drivers are likely to drive slower so don’t get impatient, it could save your life.

· Bring your car in before it gets very frosty and get your tires checked.

By law, you are responsible for your car and will be made liable if you have a traffic accident due to car issues.

2. Cold Weather and Flu

According to research, cold weather-related deaths for this winter are expected at around 40,000 people. This is the highest number in 15 years.

· Maintain an indoor temperature of at least 18°C.

· Don’t leave windows open when you go to bed – this lowers the risk of heart attack and stroke in cold weather.

· Ensure your flu and pneumonia shots are up-to-date.

· Check your central heating – you’ll regret it if it breaks down on Christmas Eve.

· Make sure you have plenty of warm clothes and blankets in case of a power cut or broken boiler.

· If you have an elderly relative or know of an elderly person, do check on them.

3. Food Poisoning

Food poisoning over Christmas is a hazard because many people fail to cook the Christmas turkey properly.

Defrost Your Turkey Properly

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· As a guide, allow 10-12 hours per kilogram to defrost in the fridge.

· FSA (Food Standards Agency) research shows that 69% of people leave their turkey in an unsafe place when defrosting (the garage, the garden shed, or the bath) – don’t be one of them!

· Keep raw meat at the bottom of your fridge – it should be below 5°C.

· Keep it covered with the original packaging or in a container so no juices contaminate other food.

Cook Your Turkey Thoroughly

Despite popular belief, you don’t need to wash your defrosted turkey! The water doesn’t get rid of bacteria and actually just ends up on your kitchen surfaces.

· Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4).

· To cook your bird (unstuffed):

· Under 4.5kg – allow 45 minutes per kg plus 20 minutes

· Between 4.5 and 6.5 kg – allow 40 minutes per kg

· Over 6.5 kg – allow 35 minutes per kg

Check the stuffing! If you’ve stuffed your turkey, the stuffing must also be at the same temperature as the turkey. The weight of the stuffing should be taken into account when cooking.

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· Check to make sure your turkey is cooked with a food thermometer, inserting the thermometer into the thickest part of the bird. If the temperature is at 74°C the turkey is ready to rest before carving.

· Alternatively, there should be no pink meat and the juices should be clear.

Dealing with Leftovers

People say they eat turkey sandwiches all throughout January – is that really such a good idea? Make sure you do the following:

· Place leftovers in the fridge as soon as possible.

· Remove the meat from the bone.

· Store for two days maximum.

Deal with leftovers in style – check out these 5 Awesome Christmas Dinner Leftover Recipe Ideas.

4. Accidents around the Home and Fire

According to statistics, up to 50% more people are likely to die in a house fire during the Christmas period than any other time of year. Reasons include:

· Christmas treesthis disturbing video shows just how quickly a Scotch Pine destroys a room.

· Candles – keep them away from anything that might catch alight.

· Smoking – everyone likes to snooze after Christmas dinner, unfortunately some with cigarettes in hand.

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· Drinking – people are way more accident prone around the house when they are under the influence.

More accidents happen at home than anywhere else – that’s a fact. Every year there are approximately 6,000 deaths as the result of a home accident. Add Christmas fun into the equation and this festive time can turn lethal, quickly. The bottom line is just to be sensible and careful.

5. Burglary

Alarmingly, 59% of burglaries in England and Wales occur when people are supposedly safe and sound at home. Christmas time is when we give and receive wonderful gifts, so homes are even more vulnerable as they are full of presents, most left under a Christmas tree. It’s a burglar’s paradise.

The most obvious solution is of course to get a burglar alarm. Failing that, here are some burglary prevention tips:

· Don’t whack the Christmas tree and presents right by the front window.

· Don’t leave your gifts under the tree – at all.

· Turn your Christmas lights off when you go to bed (they pose a fire risk) but keep your house well-lit.

· Put security warning stickers on your windows – much cheaper than buying the whole kit!

· Make sure your front door is double-locked.

6. Alcohol-Related Accidents

Did you know there is a 41% increase in alcohol-related injuries in December? It may sound surprising, but common assaults and domestic violence also go up by a one third on Christmas Day. As it is the season to be merry, drinking is par for the course but be drink-aware and try not to overdo it. Alcohol is very often involved in all of the above.

Final thoughts

This piece isn’t meant to sweep a black cloud over the festivities! You can still have plenty of fun even though the above hazards and dangers might sound daunting. If you do take these precautions you can increase your chances of having a safe, Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year!

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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