Tips for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Tips for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thanksgiving is one of North America’s all-time favorite holidays.  It’s a day to give thanks, count your blessings, celebrate with family and friends, and indulge in some of the best foods on earth.  In 2011, the American Automobile Association (AAA) estimated that 42.8 million people would travel away from home to celebrate Thanksgiving [1].  It is no wonder that Thanksgiving is such an important holiday to travel safely, feel healthy and stay pain-free.

Getting caught up in the anticipation and preparations of Thanksgiving is easy to do.  So much to prepare for and so little time to do it in.  These simple tips from your Physical Therapist can ensure you will be in tip top shape to enjoy your holiday in a safe and healthy way.

The Smart Road to Thanksgiving Travel
Most people travel in a vehicle or on a plane to visit their family and friends over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Before the trip, try to do some sort of physical activity for thirty minutes a day to build up your strength and stamina, and boost your metabolism to offset the extra calories from holiday feasting.  The American College of Sports Medicine reports that regular exercise and strength training twice weekly can help maintain your health [2].  Make sure if you are traveling for any extended length of time that you make frequent stops to stretch your arms and legs.  It is also important to stay hydrated.  Dehydration can not only decrease your energy but cause headaches, diarrhea and muscle pain [3].

The Early Bird Catches the Worm
All of us know that preparing a Thanksgiving meal takes time, effort and a lot of stress that we usually don’t experience when cooking dinner during a regular work week.  Make sure to start holiday preparations early.  If you are doing a strenuous task like mashing potatoes by hand or putting tables together to make room for more guests, do so in sporadic intervals.   To avoid suffering from excessive straining of muscles in the back and the legs using a single lift, try to lift or move things in multiple steps or stages [4].  Think of carrying one or two extra chairs per trip, not four!   The more time you give yourself to prepare the less likely you are to hurt yourself or trigger an already existing ailment.

Indulge…in Moderation
Overeating during the Thanksgiving holiday can ignite indigestion, make you lethargic and add thousands of unwanted calories to your normal diet.  Enjoying the pleasures of a Thanksgiving meal is highly recommended but in moderation.  If you are going to have larger helpings during dinner, fill up your plate with the healthier snacks and sides rather than the high-calorie ones.  There is no reason why you can’t try Aunt Rosie’s cheddar and bacon biscuits, but make sure to only have one, not three or four in one sitting.  After your meal, make sure to get up and take a stretch or a short walk.  Keeping your body moving and active after a heavy meal will help safeguard your overall well-being [5].


By following a few of these tried and true tips from your Physical Therapist, you will be amazed at how much better you feel after the Thanksgiving holiday.  Feeling good and being pain-free is an essential part of entertaining.  By sticking to these healthy guidelines you will make all of your holiday celebrations an absolute success.


For more tips on how to have a pain free holiday, talk to the trained, licensed Physical Therapists at ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY. If you have already been hurt while engaging in some type of physical activity, one of our Physical Therapists would be happy to assess your injury and create a program that will get you back into the swing of things. Call ISSA PHYSICAL THERAPY to make an appointment or to ask any questions you may have.

References

  • Copeland, Larry.  “Thanksgiving Travel to Hit Record Level.” USA Today 17 November 2011.
  • Mazzeo RS, Cavanagh P, Evans WJ, et al. Exercise and physical activity for older adults. Position stand for the American College of Sports Medicine. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009; 30(6):992-1008.
  • Engle J. The Complete Canadian Health Guide: Revised edition. The University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 1999; 423-427.
  • Oesch P, Meyer K, Bachmann S, Hagen KB, Vøllestad NK.  Comparison of Two Methods for Interpreting Lifting Performance During Functional Capacity Evaluation. Phys Ther. 2012 Jul 26.
  • Morris CK, Froelicher VF. Cardiovascular benefits of physical activity. Herz.. 1991;16:222-236.