Backyard barbecues and other outdoor activities can be a safe antidote to bad house rules, healthcare experts have said
Outdoor activities are the safest way to spend the holidays with family and friends this year, according to experts.
A fifth of adults polled by Boots last week said they were planning to take part in an outdoor activity over the next few days, up from just nine per cent in a similar survey in 2018.
Backyard barbecues were most popular with 26 per cent, followed by outdoor games like darts (20 per cent) and ultimate Frisbee (18 per cent), according to the survey.
Outdoor activities are still the safest way to spend the holidays, according to health experts. Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images
Health advisers said however that back garden barbecues, beer in the dark and silly food could not quite beat hospital visits if health tips were followed.
Of the 2,035 adults who took part in the survey, most (67 per cent) said they would be meeting or meeting up with loved ones and friends during the festive period. But safety should be the first priority for everyone, they said.
“Sadly, and often tragically, accidents happen when we are at home,” said Anthony Moore, head of marketing at Boots Healthspan. “The top safety message for our family and friends this Christmas is to keep the cold at bay with a spot of self-care. Don’t forget your hats, gloves and coats – bring them along – and don’t forget to check the lighting, reflectors and even the brightness of your torch.
“The best thing anyone can do for themselves and for the family or friends they’re meeting or meeting up with over the next few days is to make sure they take plenty of time to take care of themselves.”
“This year I want to do a bit of self-care and have a nice, long walk rather than risk a visit to the shops,” added Anne Wittenbach, who took part in the survey.
Wittenbach said there were lots of excuses for her not to get outdoors during the festive period, and so would be spending the holidays with family and friends. But she was wary of fizzing up her house and ensuring she would still be ready for her guests when they arrived.
“I’ve decided not to buy any alcohol as this is so thoughtless and not at all how I’d like to spend my friends’ holidays. Also, food is so expensive so maybe not.”
Moore said the popularity of outdoor activities comes as no surprise as health warnings remained the same.
“If health advice is followed, then being outdoors is the safest way to spend the holidays. But you should always take self-care as a priority if you’re away from home,” he said.
“Boots recommends to everyone to take 15 minutes each day to exercise, switch off all electronic devices and check your phones and other electronic devices for any suspicious messages, so you can have a bit of time to yourself to take care of yourself.”
Outdoor activities that do not need to be properly cooked should be left to people at home, said Moore.
“You can actually roast up plenty of veg on the stove top without any necessity to take it out to a barbecue and, when there’s time for a feast, probably just bring the outdoor BBQ indoors to help enjoy it with the family,” he said.