Feasting on turkey with all the trimmings and watching big games on the big screen are celebrated Thanksgiving traditions.
But the American Council on Exercise reports that the average adult consumes more than 3,000 calories in one Thanksgiving Day meal—typically exceeding their normal daily caloric intake.
While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional overindulgence, it is wise to practice portion control and, when possible, have an activity plan in place for burning the extra calories consumed.
Dave Engle, exercise physiologist at EvergreenHealth, suggested these ideas to get the entire family up and moving this holiday:
Play ball: “Form teams for some family-friendly competition of touch football, kickball, or baseball,” he says. “It will get the heart beating and probably everyone laughing as well.”
Stretch your legs: Gather the family together for a pre-game walk around the neighborhood. “Walking is great because it’s accessible to just about everybody and doesn’t require practice,” Dave says.
Community-minded families may also consider delivering plates of food to shut-ins or neighbors who may be celebrating the holiday alone.
Organize games: Plan indoor or outdoor activities that will get the family off the couch and on their feet.
Organize a scavenger hunt, or create an obstacle course for all to enjoy.
Double up on exercise: “You may even start the day with exercise—before the big meal. You could exercise 30 minutes on the treadmill, exercise bike, or elliptical machine, for example, and then wind down the day with a walk, bike ride, or outdoor game with the family,” Dave suggests.
Get moving for charity: Participate in a 5K walk or run.
Wherever your Thanksgiving Day plans take you this holiday, remember to set aside at least 30 minutes for exercise. There will still be time to catch the games—and even a few zzz’s!
Visit our Healthiest Best Exercise homepage for more great ideas to work activity into your daily routine.