Let’s just baseline things for one another: you are likely going to eat too much on Thursday. I am. Taking a walk has numerous benefits as a standalone activity, but it can compound during this time of over indulgence.
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The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to spend with family and friends. Most everywhere is cold enough to break out the sweaters, but that does not hide the gained weight. That big meal will be putting plenty of people into turkey comas and that football nap is the stuff of legend. It just is not the stuff of healthy, outdoor lifestyles.
Even if you aren’t going into full Explore-mode, you can set yourself up for New Year Resolution success if you can avoid the couch.
Walking helps with digestion.
Again, with the honesty, over-eating is a lock to happen. There have been countless studies that suggest taking a post-meal walk helps with digestion. It also will help combat those elevated blood sugar levels. This doesn’t have to be a big commitment, either. If you can find time for a short, 15-minute walk, it could be enough to have a positive impact.
Walking helps create lasting connections.
Giving your family a call from out of town, is not the same. Having the chance to get outside and physically talking has been shown to increase the bodies levels of oxytocin. The cumulative effect is not only is it meditative, but can help with natural connections.
Walking can decrease stress.
Traveling, family drama, expenses. Yes, it all piles up. Suffice it to say that holiday stress is nearly unavoidable. Taking that stroll after you eat is not only a good excuse to get away from everyone it has positive mental benefits. Studies have shown that walking after a meal can reduces levels of the stress hormone cortisol. It will also increase your levels of serotonin, dopamine and endorphins. Those ‘feel-good’ releases may make it easier to head back to the house and deal with the fam.
Walking will help you skip that nap.
It is almost formulaic at this point. Gather, gorge, go to sleep. If you can get outside and fight off the tryptophan you are setting yourself up for success. Not taking that nap ensures that your body is not confused as to when to shut it down for the night. It may sound like a fringe benefit, cuz oh… that nap… but a walk can allow you to fall asleep faster, and more deeply at home.
The benefits actually increase as you get older. Studies have shown that walking can provide numerous benefits for adults and help reduce the risk of developing a physical disabilities in the elderly.
While it may be tempting to crash on the couch and fall asleep as the Cowboys beat the Giants, but get outside and enjoy more than just a cousin walk. Get healthy!