How to spend time as a family while burning off Thanksgiving dinner

It’s no secret Thanksgiving is everyone’s favorite holiday – I mean, how can it not be? It’s a day centered around being grateful for all we have … and eating until our pants no longer fit. Thanksgiving marks the official “kick-off” of the holiday season, and the start of many food-filled family gatherings.

Between appetizers, turkey and your mom’s famous stuffing, you can easily double or even triple your calorie intake on Thanksgiving (and that’s before eating dessert!)  According to the Calorie Control Council, an average Thanksgiving feast attendee consumes an impressive 4,500 calories by the end of the night!


Although shopping sounds like a tempting form of cardio, you won’t burn off that pumpkin pie by waiting in line for a new TV. You could say you’ll spend the rest of your holiday weekend in the gym working off those extra calories (if your gym is even open) but who wants to spend their vacation time away from their family and in the gym surrounded by sweaty strangers?

Instead, take advantage of the empty streets/trails and head out for a family hike or bike ride! Even just a 20 minute bike ride gives your body a complete workout – toning muscles in your legs, thighs and calves – you benefit from the cardiovascular activity and effectively burn calories.


If you’re hitting the trails via mountain bike, you’ll burn an average of 510-754 calories per hour. It’s okay if your out of town guests don’t have bikes – they’ll still burn an average of 360 – 532 calories hiking beside you while you ride.

You’re only into Thanksgiving for the football? According to Livestrong.com,  in 30 minutes of playing touch football, a 200-pound person burns 396 calories, while a 150-pound person burns 297 calories. Even tossing the ball around in the backyard, will burn an average of 80-150 calories.


A Thanksgiving family bike ride is a great tradition to start – even your youngest family members will be able to participate! There may be a local Bike Ride or 5k to sign up for in your neighborhood. New York City hosts a Thanksgiving Morning “Pilgrim Pedal” Bike Ride every year – it includes pancakes! Check your local newspaper for an event near you.

Although it is important to stay in shape, it’s okay to indulge on your favorite holiday foods. Remember, this is a time to celebrate family and give thanks for all we have!

Source for average calories burned: www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-of-leisure-and-routine-activities



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