5 Tips to Stay Active on Thanksgiving

By: Jennifer Heiligman, PT, MPT

As rehabilitation therapists and part of the healthcare community keeping our patients active and healthy is one of our main goals.  This goal becomes a little harder to attain when the holidays roll around.  With Thanksgiving just around the corner we decided to gather some tips for your patients (and yourselves) on ways to include physical activity in your holiday celebration.

Participate in a Turkey Trot

A Turkey Trot is a family friendly fun run that is held on Thanksgiving morning in many communities.  The distance is usually between 3.1 miles (5K) and up to 6.2 miles (10K).  If you are not a runner, that’s ok.  You can run, jog or walk the race.  Try to get as many of your family and friends to participate and you can all enjoy spending time together and getting in some activity before the feast. 

Put Together a Friendly Game of Touch Football

Watching football on Thanksgiving day is a tradition many people follow.  While everyone is in the football mindset, why not put together a game of touch football too?  This will get everyone outside for some fresh air and allow for some fun physical activity.  You could even include some friendly wagering.  For instance, the losing team has to clean up after the meal.   You could also create a trophy that will allow the winning team to have bragging rights and can be presented year after year.  These ideas will be sure to ignite everyone’s competitiveness.  Family not into football?  Any team sport such as baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, spikeball, or even a game of tag will provide the same result.

Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen

Unfortunately, there are many people who will not be able to share this holiday with loved ones.  By volunteering you can help to make their day a little brighter.  Either before or after your meal, volunteer some time at your local soup kitchen or shelter.  This gets you off the couch and should remind you of what the holiday is all about, giving thanks.

Create a Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt will make your family and friends get up and move.  They will be running around to find all the items on the list before everyone else.  Scavenger hunts can be done indoors or outdoors.  This can be helpful when the weather in your area doesn’t cooperate.  Not a creative person? (like myself)  Just go to your favorite search engine and type in “Thanksgiving scavenger hunt ideas”.  You will be sure to find some fantastic ideas.  Most importantly, don’t forget the prizes!  The participants will want to be rewarded for their efforts.

Take a Post Meal Walk

Avoid the dreaded tryptophan nap by getting the whole family out of the house to take a walk.  This will help with digestion and burn calories.  Kids don’t want to walk?  No problem, have them ride their bike, scooter or skateboard.  Anything that gets them outside and moving is a win.  

For most American families, Thanksgiving is a holiday that revolves around food.  This Thanksgiving, unlike last year, you will hopefully be able to gather family and friends to celebrate and eat that food together in person.  This is a perfect time to start a new tradition with one or all of the ideas listed above to help your family be active on the holiday.  

The OptimisPT Team wishes you and your family a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!