Your Healthy Super Bowl Playbook

Feb 4 2010 - 11:51am
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This Sunday, millions of people will join together to watch the 44th Super Bowl featuring the first ever appearance at the championship game for the New Orleans Saints against the two-time champion Indianapolis Colts. The average household will bring 17 people together on the day of the event, so staying safe and healthy should be just as much of a priority as having fun.

First Comes Safety

The Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA) reports that last year, nearly 4.5 million consumers purchased a new television in preparation for the Super Bowl. Installing a new flat-screen TV is not only tricky, but can be a safety concern as well. Nearly 40 children visit the emergency room each day with injuries after a heavy piece of furniture has fallen on them, according to the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Most adult back pain is caused by straining the muscles in the lower back from activities such as improper lifting of heavy objects.

When lifting a heavy object, keep the back straight and the feet apart to maintain balance. Bend at the knees, not at the waist, with the feet remaining flat and firm on the ground. If the object is too heavy, or too bulky – as in the case of many wide-screen TV’s, do not attempt to lift it on your own. Get help and carry the object close to the body. When setting up the television, ensure that the furniture that will hold the set is stable on it’s own. Anchor it to the floor or wall if it is tall and easily able to tip. Place the TV as far back as possible from the front of the stand to prevent a child from pulling it off. And ensure that electrical cords are intact and out of reach.

Next Comes the Food

Approximately 62% of grill-owners will fire up their grill for the Big Game. If it is not done safely, grilling can be a source of fire and burn hazards. Between 2003 and 2006, US fire departments responded to an average of 7900 home fires each year that involved grills, hibachis, or barbecues. This caused an average of 10 deaths, 120 injuries, and $80 million in property damage.

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Only use propane and charcoal grills out doors. When in an enclosed space, they not only pose a fire hazard, but also risk exposing occupants to toxic gases and possible asphyxiation. Position the grill well away from siding, deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Place the grill a safe distance from traffic patterns and play areas.

Don’t Forget the Waistline

Food and drinks are the centerpiece of football celebrations and tailgating, and it usually involves beer and chicken wings. The Snack Food Association reports that Super Bowl fans will consume 11 million pounds of potato chips and 3.8 million pounds of popcorn this year.

Just as during the winter holidays, there is no need to deprive yourself of the fun even if you are trying to watch your weight. Many recipes are available for healthful, yet tasty, options. Eating Well Magazine has 25 recipes such as homemade tortilla chips and Chile Con Queso. The Food Network features Hot Wing and Potato Skin recipes. And the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette gives Nachos Grande and Fudge Brownies a healhy kick.

Halftime this year will feature rocking sounds by The Who. Marta Montenegro, editor-in-chief of SoBeFiT Magazine has created “The 30-Minute Super Bowl Halftime Workout” which can burn off some of your Super Bowl indulgences. The moves and circuits, including knee raises, squats, push-ups, and walking lunges, work several muscle groups for both a strength and cardio workout.

And Finally, Be Safe Going Home

Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most dangerous days of the year because of the number of people who choose to drive home after drinking alcohol. Last year in California, 11 people died and another 133 were hurt after Super Bowl 43. Many cities will have extra patrol on the roads after the game to catch drunk drivers before they hurt themselves and others. Don’t be one of them – designate a driver before the game so everyone can get home safely.

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