Health risks of Christmas shopping
We all know Christmas shopping can be bad for our bank balance, but it may be affecting our health too. Whether you’re super organised and have already bought all your gifts, or you are a last-minute shopper dashing around the stores, it can be stressful preparing for the season of goodwill. Research has shown that trailing around buying presents or treats for Christmas dinner can also take its toll on your body – and even your waistline. But there are plenty of tips to take on board before you hit the shops and battle the Christmas crowds.
If you are someone who plans to just pop into a shop for a few minutes, but end up overloading yourself with gifts, think about your back and elbows. Carrying a basket laden with items can put pressure on your neck and spine and lead to backache. It can also impact your elbows, putting you at risk of strains and sprains. If you insist on shunning a trolley for basket, remember to keep it by your side and close to your body to reduce strain, and don’t carry more than 10 items.
Before you leave the house, it’s worth making sure you’ve had a snack to avoid being tempted by shelves of tasty seasonal treats.
Researchers at Cornell University found that people who ate an apple ahead of their shopping spree bought 25 per cent more fruit and vegetables than those who didn’t have a snack. “Having a small, healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset,” said Dr Aner Tal, who led the study.
A study conducted by Harvard and Duke Universities also found that people who were buying gifts for others or using recycled shopping bags were more likely to indulge in fatty foods during their shopping trip. “If we do something good for society - such as using a more environmentally friendly shopping bag - or even good for us, we feel we have a licence to balance that by doing something bad, such as buying something we might not normally eat,” clinical psychologist Dr Nikki Teper told MailOnline.
For anyone hoping to avoid a nasty winter flu or stomach bug this season, it’s worth giving free food samples a miss. It’s tempting to try something offered to you at the luxury deli counter at your local supermarket, but other people will also have touched the same plates so take care! The same goes for trolleys and baskets in stores; experts recommend wiping the handles with an antibacterial wipe before you touch them to reduce your risk of catching cold, food poisoning or norovirus – all of which are rife at this time of year. Carry an antibacterial spray with you too, so you can clean your hands after leaving a busy department store.