Whether you will be spending the day cooking for your family and friends or catching all the football games on television – these easy tips will help you feel great the morning after.

  1. Yes, you probably have the day off from work; however, if you will be prepping for a day of cooking, be sure to take 5 minutes for self-care and STRETCH! That’s right. Stretch. Cooking requires lots of bending and twisting and often times hunching the shoulders over the sink. By taking a few minutes in the morning to stretch – you are warming up those muscles and getting them ready for movement.
  2. Whether you are bending to place the turkey in the oven or scrubbing those floors clean – pay attention to how you are bending. There is a correct way to bend that allows for maximal movement and helps you avoid back pain. Be sure to bend your knees or more specifically, what Dr. James calls hinging. The farther you need to reach forward, such as putting that glorious turkey in the oven, the farther your butt should reach backwards. Try it. Reach forward with your arms, bend those knees, and reach backwards with your back side. Did you notice you didn’t even need to bend your lower back? This works even from a kneeling position, when cleaning those hard to reach places, including the notorious bathtub.
  3. If your Thanksgiving duties include sitting on the couch most of the day and updating your family on the scores of the game – be sure to spend some time standing up and moving as well. Studies have shown that prolonged sitting can be detrimental to your health. If you already spend most of your day sitting at work, why not choose Thanksgiving to make a healthy change. Our advice – challenge yourself to get up every other commercial break. That’s right STAND UP – walk in place for 100 steps, walk to the kitchen and get a beverage, or do something even healthier – how about doing 10 squats! But about that squatting technique, we recommend using the same form described in tip #2.
  4. If your day includes multiple Thanksgiving meals at people’s homes, plan ahead. Park your car a little farther away from the home you will be visiting and get some extra steps. Plan to eat small meals at everyone’s homes so you don’t overstuff yourself. We have already touched on how important stretching is for having a successful pain-free day on Thanksgiving but stretching your stomach should not be one of those goals. Interestingly, the feeling of being full is often due to the presence of stretch receptors in the stomach. As Dr. James often discusses regarding stretching, good stretching is good for you, bad stretching is bad for you. So be mindful of that stretch sensation and when it starts to kick in, maybe take a break from eating and give your GI tract a chance to catch up.
  5. If you have an intolerance or preference to certain foods, severe food allergies, and/or food sensitivities – be sure to let others know. Although most people have their go to recipes that they prepare for the holiday, if you have been invited to share a meal, it means they care about YOU. Let them know ahead of time so they can substitute a dish or offer to bring your own side dish. This way everyone can enjoy the meal.
  6. Most importantly remember that Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks. Be sure to take a few minutes wherever you are and give thanks for everything you have been blessed with.