6 Exercises you can do without leaving your couch after Thanksgiving dinner
Let's face it: When Thanksgiving Day rolls around, our typical routine consists of eating, drinking and sleeping...
I mean, it's only our natural right as American citizens to indulge in as much turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pie as possible on this glorious occasion. And despite our best intentions, we may not find the time (or energy) to hit up the gym afterwards — thank you, food coma!
But hey, it's a holiday, so we're allowed to cut ourselves a little slack. Plus, when you think about it, the core foods that make up our Thanksgiving Day meals are not inherently all that bad.
"Turkey, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. — you can hit all the food groups," says Mindy Kim, Barre and Pilates trainer at TruFusion. That is, until we start adding marshmallows, sauce and gravy. But who can blame us?
You can easily make some healthy swaps when it comes to cooking, suggests Yoga Instructor Patrick Mason. "For instance, you can make cauliflower mash instead of typical mashed potatoes, which we often load with milk and butter."
As for burning a few extra cals while you cook, that's totally doable too!
"A great way to get your workout in without going to the gym during the holidays is by doing some simple exercises at home," Mindy says. "You can do quick ab exercises while sitting on the couch, you can do squats while stirring your food on the stove or you can even use the timer set on your oven while baking a pie, and use that time to get in a workout."
Or, as Patrick suggests, make it a habit to walk up and down the stairs in your house (if you have them). "Once you walk up and down a few times, your legs will start to feel it," he says.
But if none of those options sound appealing to you, don't worry. Mindy and Patrick have a few other tricks up their sleeves that you can do.
Enter: The ultimate couch potato workout plan! Yes, that's right, workout moves you can do all without leaving the comfort of your own living room (or couch for that matter)! Check out the moves these fitness instructors recommend below.
1. Neck Rolls
"This is helpful for relaxing the neck and upper shoulder area after maintaining a stationary position while sitting on the couch," says Patrick.
Sit so the head isn't touching the couch. Gently lower the chin to chest. Slowly move the right ear towards the right shoulder. Come back to center (chin to chest) and move the left ear towards the left shoulder. Repeat this process until the neck feels loose enough to roll further on each side and until the back of the head rests between the shoulder blades. Then complete the full rotation in each direction until satisfied.
2. Wrist Stretches
"This will relieve pressure in each wrist and through the forearms," Patrick notes.
Extend the right arm towards the TV, palm facing up. Use the left hand to grab the right fingers and pull towards the face. Keep hold of the right fingers and rotate the right wrist both clockwise and counterclockwise. Stop, face the right palm down and use the left hand to pull the fingers towards the face. Rotate the right wrist clockwise and counterclockwise. Repeat on the complimentary side.
3. Seated Pigeon
"This will stretch the outside of the hip, a place known for getting tight directly after Netflix releases the next season of Orange Is the New Black," says Patrick.
Place right ankle on left thigh, close to the knee. Flex the right ankle (pull all five toes towards the right shin). Inhale deeply into the chest (not the belly) and fold forward over the right shin while exhaling. Take deep breaths into the chest and tighten the abs while exhaling and continue to lean forward. Repeat on the complimentary side.
4. Couch Crunches
Mindy suggests lying on your back and then putting your legs up onto the back of the couch. Knees should be bent with feet hanging over the back of the couch. Perform a basic crunch.
5. Table Toe Taps
Next, sit up and lean back, with your back long and belly button to your spine. Lift the legs and then lower them to the coffee table top and do toe taps up and down with the option to alternate legs.
6. Flutter Kicks
Lie on your back with legs extended and perform very small and quick vertical kicks, alternating between left and right leg continuously.