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Enjoy the Feast But Make Sure You Do This on Thanksgiving Day

thanksgiving dinner idea

Thanksgiving Day may be one of the few times this year that you really “blow your diet.” This is perfectly acceptable – if you will just make time over the holiday weekend to fit in a few extra minutes of exercise.


If you are like me, you plan your wardrobe for Thanksgiving Day around how much you are likely to eat (ie: stretchy yoga pants all the way). The average Thanksgiving meal packs about 3000 calories!

There are plenty of tips available on how to prevent overeating on this festive occasion, but if you do feel like indulging in that second piece of pumpkin pie, just be sure you make time for a good heart-pumping exercise session.

Yes, previous studies have shown that as little as one week of overeating can really negatively affect your health by impairing glycemic control and insulin sensitivity. But new research from the University of Michigan has found that exercise may provide a protective affect against these metabolic impairments.

In the small pilot study, four lean and active adults were studied. These participants consumed 30% more calories than normal for one week. During that week, the participants also exercised for at least 150 minutes (at least six out of the seven days).

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The study subjects who did not exercise experienced increased levels of inflammation as measured by C-reactive protein due to the increase in intake. But those who did exercise were not found to have the same markers of inflammation nor did they have other untoward health consequences such as a change in glucose tolerance or lipolysis (chemical breakdown of fat).

"Our preliminary findings expand on existing work to support a protective role of exercise in the metabolic response of adipose tissue to brief periods of overeating," the researchers concluded.

So either before your guests arrive or before you hop into the car for that long trip to Grandma’s house, be sure to get in a brisk walk or run on Thanksgiving Day!

American Physiological Society (APS). "Exercise may shield against the health fallout of a weeklong overindulgence." ScienceDaily, 4 November 2016.

Photo Credit:
By Ralph Daily from Birmingham, United States - Roasted American Turkey, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons