Santa needs to break naughty habits to improve his health, warns Sheffield physio

Father Christmas is known for being fat and jolly. He brings joy to millions every year, but is he putting himself at risk?

Santa may be whizzing around the world in one night, but he spends a lot of time sitting in one position in his sleigh, which is not good for his body, says physiotherapist Ian Andrews

Here are some do’s and don’ts everyone, particularly Santa, should be aware of.

1. Look how Santa holds his sack. All the weight on one shoulder will increase the strain on his back and put him at risk of back pain. He would be better off with a supportive, double-strapped bag, with even weight distribution.

2. Santa is always spotted in supportive, sturdy boots. Good shoes help our skeleton.

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Ian Andrews, physiotherapist at Oakwood Physiotherapy/ MBST at S20 Physique

3. It’s no secret Christmas is the season of excess and Father Christmas will ingest an estimated 400 billion calories in one night. However, the more overweight we are, the more strain is placed on our joints.

4. Santa wraps up warm, covering all of his joints and limbs in that red suit and hat. Keeping layers of warm clothing on in colder months helps minimise our aches and pains and keep joints and muscles relaxed and healthy.

5. Santa loves a festive tipple, and is expected to enjoy nearly three billion units of alcohol on Christmas Eve. Alcohol can increase inflammation and risk of injury if we over-indulge, plus it is not good for our organs. Enjoy a drink in moderation and keep well hydrated.

6. A busy, full-on schedule can lead to stress which can have a hugely negative impact on the body, causing a lack of sleep, reduction in bodily functions such as metabolism, and making poor diet choices.

7. Staying up all night is unavoidable for Santa, but most of us are not going to be delivering presents to 2.26 billion homes in one night. Sleep is when our body naturally rests and regenerates, strengthening our immune system and restoring our energy. Aim for about eight hours of good sleep a night.

8. Santa spreads joy. A positive mindset, self-belief and investment in mental wellbeing is as important as physical health.

9. Santa spends a lot of time sitting in one position in his sleigh, which is not good for his body. Something a lot of us can relate to with desk-bound jobs. It’s vital to take lots of breaks from your screen and keep your body limber by standing up, moving around and stretching.

10. Santa is Covid-conscious. He maintains distancing guidelines and stays in his bubble. He also wears gloves. Perhaps he could benefit from a mask too?

Ian is a physiotherapist at Oakwood Physiotherapy/ MBST at S20 Physique, New Street, Holbrook – see s20physique.com