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4 Ways to Work Off Your Thanksgiving Feast

Posted Nov 20 2012 1:50pm

Turkey Trot Ah, the holidays. Thanksgiving marks the the beginning of that feast-filled season of the year. And if you're like us, it's also is when you start wondering how you're going to fit into your favorite pair of jeans after it's all over. Self-control, you say? Hah! We're talking about Grandma's famous pecan pie. Luckily, there are plenty of fun ways to burn those extra calories. Try these four outdoor activities so that you can splurge and still slip into your pre-Thanksgiving attire.

Activity: Participate in a Turkey Trot

Calories: 204-1,286 (ranging from walking to running)/1 hour 

Reward: Candied Yams

The name of this activity implies just that: a fun run that occurs on Thanksgiving Day. The tradition began when runners who anticipated feasting on a Thanksgiving meal decided to run before doing so, burning off many calories and therefore preparing themselves to take in candied yams and green bean casseroles. The original Turkey Trot began in the 1940s in Dallas. It was held at Fair Park in the city and consisted of an 8-mile course. Today, many of the cities and organizations that sponsor this event also donate proceeds to local charities. Just type in your city and "turkey trot" into your search bar to find one near you . Registering for this exciting event benefits both your physical health as well as others in need. 


Activity: Take a Hike

Calories: 584-872 burned/1 hour 

Reward: Aunt Sally's famous stuffing 

Check out your local trails and encourage your Thanksgiving company to tag along for some outdoor air, sights, sounds, and smells that aren't gravy or stuffing related. One of the best ways to get some exercise and spend time with the people around you, hiking never fails to give everyone a sense of appreciation for nature that can really be elevated during a holiday that is all about giving thanks. And remember -- some of these trails can always incorporate other activities such as biking or jogging. Remember to check the maps for a safe and well-informed expedition!

Winter swimming

Activity: Go Swimming

Calories: 423-632 burned/1 hour  

Reward: Green Bean Casserole

To many people, cold-water swimming sounds crazy. But this sport takes place in many countries around the world -- some people believe it is a great stress reliever while others believe it provides health benefits, such as boosting the immune system and burning major calories. Whatever the case may be, you don't necessarily have to be somewhere snowy to take advantage of this sport. Be bold, daring, but safe this holiday season by joining an established group, taking it slowly, and entering the water feet first. This sport will get both your adrenaline and blood pumping! (Note: If you have an underlying health issue, talk to your doctor before attempting this activity.)


Football field

Activity: Play Ball

Calories: 438-654 burned

Reward: A slice of Grandma's pecan pie 

Instead of watching football on the television while the pies are baking in the oven, go outside and play football. The great thing about Thanksgiving is that since your relatives and friends are visiting, you have enough people to play flag football. Establish your teams, then enjoy the crisp outdoors while getting some great exercise and family bonding. Or, if your family members aren't football fans, play some basketball or softball. It doesn't take too much equipment to go to your local park and get involved in some serious game time before or after feast time.

Bonus: Check out our Holiday Survival Guide !

--Christine Nguyen

--images by istockphoto/blyjak, istockphoto/mcseem, istockphoto/blyjak, and istockphoto/aetb

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