With the biggest eating holiday of the year behind us, now is a great time to get in a healthy habit of regular exercise to help fight off that holiday weight and get you feeling your best.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), the average Thanksgiving Day dinner packs in a whopping 3,000 calories which means that the average 160-pound person would have to run at a moderate pace for four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles just to burn it off. That’s a lot of exercise for just one meal!
I love to indulge just like most people, but I also like to get back into my regular routine as quickly as possible. I usually start my day with a brisk walk or jog around Rockwell Park in Bristol, and this morning was no different. We all love to feast on Thanksgiving treats, but getting back on track quickly is the best way to ensure that your turkey belly doesn’t continue growing through the New Year. A 20-minute walk or jog gets the blood pumping and it helps to energize you for the rest of the day ahead.
While I am walking, I like to take hand weights and incorporate squats into my routine. I stand with my feet shoulder width apart and push down into a sitting position with my knees bent. Three sets of ten squats are usually enough to get the glutes fired up and they help me forgive myself for that extra slice of pumpkin pie.
Next, I like to move into lunges which are a fantastic exercise for strengthening the thighs. I do mine while walking which helps to improve balance which is key as we approach ski season. Lunges are easy to do - just take a big step forward and bend both knees at the same time, returning to standing when your knees are bent at 90 degrees. Try five on each side to begin and do three sets to really feel the burn.
For the upper body, I like to alternate pushups and tricep dips to get the muscles in my arms, back, and shoulders fired up. If you’re not used to push-ups, you can modify your positioning by starting on your knees which will make it a little easier to do them in proper form. For tricep dips, you can use a sturdy chair, bench or table that will hold your weight, but I like to use the outdoor exercise equipment in the park.
Then we come to that turkey belly. I often lay on my back and slowly raise my legs up to the sky before lowering them down again in sets of 10 repetitions. Then there is the plank, which can be done simply by getting in push up position and holding the body in place with the elbows against the torso and the back, glutes, and legs all in alignment. Try holding your plank for 30 seconds at first and then you can work your way up to two minutes.
With the holidays now in full swing, it can be easy to let your normal routine fall by the wayside in favor of sweet treats and deliciously lavish dinners. But if you keep your exercise up and enjoy the foods of the festive season in moderation, you’ll be much better off when it’s time to make that New Year’s resolution.
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.