Five Ways to Stay Active on Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is just a few days away! While rest and relaxation might be top of mind for you, it’s still important to incorporate some movement and activity into your holiday. This is especially important if you’re suffering from something like back or knee pain! I always caution my clients before weekends or big holidays to make sure they keep moving! Rest might prevent you from feeling pain temporarily, but in the end it doesn’t do your joints any favors. “Motion is lotion,” I always say – and your joints need it!

If you want to avoid a stiff back or knees on Black Friday, here are five easy ways to stay active on Thanksgiving Day:

1. Sign up for a Turkey Trot

Most towns hold a 5k Race that can be fun for the whole family on Thanksgiving morning. The Seacoast Rotary Club is having one right here in Portsmouth! This is a great way to get your heart pumping and metabolism going first thing in the morning, setting a healthy stage for the day. If running is not your thing – then go for a walk! You could walk the 5K race or just schedule your own that morning before you begin your Turkey Day festivities. 

2. Stretch at Rest Stops

If you have a long drive ahead of you on Thanksgiving Day, schedule in some rest stops where you can get out and stretch. Or at the very least, stretch before you get in the car and as soon as you get out.This advice is especially important if you are suffering from back pain, or are prone to back problems.  Prolonged sitting is one of the biggest culprits for back pain suffers. It’s especially tricky because you might not have the pain while sitting, but instead feel it much later, making it difficult to tie the cause and effect together. My favorite stretch to give clients is to simply arch backwards with your hands behind your back for support.  It’s a great way to keep your back from getting stiff and painful.

3. Help with set up or clean up

Offer to help set the table or clean up!  This is an easy way for you to not only be a huge help to your gracious host, but to stay active before and after dinner.  It will force you to get up, walk around, and hopefully avoid that after dinner food coma. If you’re in your 60’s or 70’s, the younger members in your family might not want you to get up. They might think they are being helpful by letting you sit and relax all day. Don’t let them do that to you! Tell them you are happy to get up and stretch your legs and move your joints around.  Your body will certainly thank you – plus – you’ll be setting a good example for the young people in your family. 

4. Stretch during commercials

Whether you’re watching the Macy’s Day parade or Thanksgiving Day football, commercials are the perfect cue to remind yourself to get up and stretch! I can’t stress enough to you how detrimental prolonged sitting is to your body.  It seems harmless, but it can wreak havoc on your body. I guarantee you that on Monday I’m going to see an influx of clients with back pain in my office. I want to help you avoid that problem! Every commercial, get up and stretch.  Even better, do a few squats are heel raises at the same time.

5. After dinner walk

Before you sit down and relax after that big dinner, go for a walk! Even if you decided to do that Turkey Trot in the morning, it will still be a good idea to go for a nice relaxing walk after dinner.  Get the family or grandkids together. Take the family pet. Walking is one of the best exercises on the planet, and it’s something I prescribe to just about every client I work with. It’s one of the most functional activities that we do and it’s so good for you.

Now, if you’re currently suffering from any kind of back, knee, hip, or shoulder pain that is keeping you from trying out any of these strategies for Thanksgiving Day, then you should get in touch! Our physical therapists can help point you in the right direction and advise you on the best course of treatment to get you doing things you love again. You can even request a FREE Discovery Session if you want to talk with us. This is a completely free, no-obligation appointment that will give you all the information you need to make the best decision for YOUR health!