Thanksgiving is one of my favorite Holidays and it’s right around the corner! While rest and relaxation may be all you’re thinking about – our spine and joints don’t like to be sedentary for prolonged periods. And that’s especially true if you’ve got arthritis, back or knee pain. You may not notice any pain while you’re sitting or relaxing, but you will pay for it the next day if you don’t find ways to keep moving. But staying active and moving this Thanksgiving is not as difficult as you may think!
Here are five very easy ways to help you stay active and moving this Thanksgiving:
Interrupt your sitting.
Our bodies were not designed to sit for prolonged periods, so getting up frequently is an easy way to not only incorporate movement on Thanksgiving Day, but to help keep away back and knee stiffness. I recommend standing up at least once every 30 min. This could be a fun assignment to give a young child. Make them accountable for watching the clock and remind you to stand up. This is quite possibly the easiest and most effective strategy to keep your knees, hips, and spine from getting painful and stiff throughout Turkey Day.
Do a Turkey Trot
Thanksgiving Turkey Trots are a popular event in most towns and it can be a really fun event for the whole family. Turkey Trots are typically 5K’s – or 3.2 miles. If you’re not able to sign up for an actual race, grab your friends and family and create your own Turkey Trot within your neighborhood. If you can’t coordinate a time to do this in a group, take a virtual trot together and stay connected via your smartphone. Either way, whether you walk or jog, it will feel great to get your Thanksgiving Day started with lubricated joints and blood flowing.
Stretch during Commercials.
Whether it’s the Macy’s Day parade, football, or both – it’s easy to find yourself sitting for hours on a soft sofa or recliner. A very easy way to keep yourself from sitting or slouching too much and to incorporate some healthy movement into your day is to get up during commercials. It’s the perfect opportunity to do a quick 2 min exercise or stretch. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Choose from a quick set of squats, heel raises, planks, or back stretches. You can alternate through these during each commercial break and your body will thank you for it.
Walk for Dessert.
Just because you did that Turkey Trot in the morning doesn’t mean you have to be done for the day. Skip the dessert and go for a nice easy walking stroll after dinner. Walking is one of the best exercises you can do. And it gives you many of the same benefits of running (only slower). Walking is very functional, and it’s good for your hips, back and knees. Since we tend to sit and bend so much during the day, walking is a very natural and active way to get some much needed lengthening and stretching into our bodies. Plus, it can’t hurt to work off some of those Thanksgiving calories.
Help with cleaning up.
You may not like this tip, and your kids and grandkids might fight you on it, but it’s another easy way to keep moving on Thanksgiving Day. If you’re suffering from back problems, be careful bending and repetitively leaning over when you’re collecting or washing dishes. But otherwise, getting up and moving around between servings and after dinner is another easy way to keep moving and active throughout the day.
There you have it – five easy ways to stay active and moving this Thanksgiving. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday and get to spend it with those you love most.
Dr. Carrie Jose, Physical Therapist and Pilates expert, owns CJ Physical Therapy & Pilates in Portsmouth. If you’re looking for help and want to speak with one of her specialists – click here. To get a free copy of her guide to back pain – click here.