Thanksgiving marks the kick-off to the long holiday season and is one of the biggest food holidays of the year. With the excitement and buzz of family, friends and massive quantities of delicious food in the air, it’s easy to go a bit overboard and indulge in too many goodies on the table. If you find yourself in this predicament, here are Six Post-Thanksgiving Workouts that will help alleviate that bloated feeling.
- Go for a walk. Even as little as 15 minutes of movement can help ease stomach pains, beat bloat and aid in flatter looking abs. One easy post-Thanksgiving workout to help your Thanksgiving dinner digesting better is to do some low-impact walking. It will help to get your body and metabolism going and avoid everyone falling asleep on the couch! Whether it’s a quick jaunt around the block or a long, brisk walk, a walk is beneficial for the entire family. Make it a post-Thanksgiving dinner tradition!
- Hula Hoop. Hula hooping might seem silly as a form of exercise, but it’s actually one of the best ways to tone your abdominals, massage your organs and get a full cardiovascular workout. Plus, after a big meal, it will pull you out of your Thanksgiving lethargy and even aid with digestion. Make a fun contest out of who can go the longest!
- Yoga. If you need a little relief after enjoying your monstrous holiday feast, try a relaxing yoga sequence to get things flowing and moving naturally instead of plopping on the couch and chewing on some Tums. You may not realize how many muscles are involved in breathing or how they affect your digestion. Take time to focus on some deep breaths and hold for a while in the poses from Vajrasana and Yoga Mudra.
Vajrasana is a posture in which one has to sit in an erect position with the knees folded and your feet flat against the floor. While sitting in this position, your feet can be touching the sides of your hips or positioned underneath your buttocks. Rest the palms of your hands on the knees or upper thighs. Sitting daily in this position while breathing slow, steady breathes for 10 – 15 minutes will help your body and relieve stress.
Yoga Mudra is found to be extremely beneficial for the stomach muscles and also prevents diabetes. You can sit in a Vajrasana posture while placing your feet flat on the floor and sitting gently on top of them. Clasp your arms behind your back and slowly lower your head to touch the ground and remain in this position for some time. Then, revert back to your original position and repeat this four to five times. Studies have proven that Yoga Mudra increases parasympathetic activity and lowers blood pressure.
- Pilates. Pilates, especially the mat based exercises, can be done year round, anywhere and anytime. The Pilates method’s focus on the mind/body connection, concentration, control, and flexibility, breathing and fluid movements makes it a great post-Thanksgiving workout and a wonderful method for aiding in digestion. Often times we stagnate, because we aren’t breathing as deeply as we should be. In Pilates method, we strengthen the diaphragm muscles and breathe in the lower half of the body. On the exhalation, the abdominals are drawn in and upwards which helps massage the internal organs. Pilates will emphasize strengthening the core region and glutes, while also stretching the body out. When our muscles (especially the psoas) is tight, it pulls on our lower back and compresses our abdominal region, making it uncomfortable and harder to digest. Often times we don’t feel like doing anything vigorous when we have eaten too much or experience indigestion. Pilates is great because you can lie down while you work out!
- Dancing. No dance experience necessary! Turn on some holiday music or your favorite jams and have a freestyle dance party. Imitate your favorite artists or have a silliest dancer contest. No matter what you do, you are moving and burning calories and having fun! Plus, you’re making memories and creating great stories to reminisce next year.
- Active Games. Fun family games like Charades or Twister can get you moving and everyone involved. The excitement will help you stay off the couch and not even think about how full you are let alone that you are working out.
Ideally, a daily dose of general exercise, Yoga, Pilates and cardiovascular routines can help aid in the digestion process. By doing any exercise, you are using your body, building your strength and also increasing your endurance level. By practicing any or all of these six post-Thanksgiving workouts, you and your guests will enjoy your holiday that much more.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Score Sports Center!
-Aubrie Nelson, Group X Director