Registered dietitian for Susan P. Byrnes Health Education Center
This Thanksgiving, why not start a new, healthy holiday tradition? As much as we all love fighting over the last drumstick and watching Uncle Ben snooze away the afternoon in his rocker, let’s dare to add a little physical activity to Turkey Day.According to the American Council on Exercise, a traditional Thanksgiving meal is nearly 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat. To expend that amount of energy, a 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles.
Consider these fun, family oriented suggestions instead to celebrate November’s bounty in a healthy way.
– Rally the family to walk, jog or run in a local race. The YMCA of York County sponsors a Turkey Trot 5K at 9 a.m. Nov. 22. Come out to cheer on your loved ones as they race. Or don a pair of sneakers, and join the more than 3,000 racers before enjoying your turkey dinner. Feel good knowing that not only are you getting a workout, but that you’re also supporting a great cause. All money raised from the race goes directly to support YMCA Health & Wellness programs and to offer financial assistance.
– Take a break from watching football and organize a backyard-touch football game. There’s nothing like a little family competition to make a holiday memorable! Enlist family members who don’t want to play to keep score and cheer on the teams. Not a football family? Toss a frisbee, shoot some hoops, or play tag with the kids.
– After the last dessert has been eaten, gather family — young and old — for a walk around the neighborhood. Enjoy the crisp fall weather and crunchy leaves while sharing stories and memories.
– Welcome Christmas by putting up the tree, carrying ornament boxes down from the attic, and decorating your Douglas Fir. Combined, these fun tasks can help you to burn more 100 calories in an hour – all without breaking a sweat.