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Blog: Active Alternatives to Thanksgiving Day Gluttony

My health club just put up its annual sign reminding patrons of shortened hours on Thanksgiving Day. I asked an employee one year if anyone actually works out on Thanksgiving. She laughed.

"Some people come in the morning," she said, "but a lot of people travel, or else they just figure it's a day to stay in and eat and watch football."

But as it turns out, some clubs and other organizations are being really creative. If people are interested in taking a break from their regular workout routine, they are still being encouraged to have fun and do some kind of activity. Some examples:

• Thanksgiving-themed races. There are turkey day 5Ks, fun runs, walks and more all over the place, and chances are there's one near you. Many races ask participants to bring cans of food to donate to local food banks. One weird but cool event in my area is the Gobble Cobble Turkey Day Turkey Trot, where the random prizes include turduckens.

• Flag Football. One of our local boot camp programs meets Thanksgiving morning, but instead of running or calisthenics, they offer an organized flag football program. I've also seen this idea used by community associations and churches.

• Gobble-Gobble Putt-Putt. I know - it's not exactly aerobic. But I was in a resort town one fall, and saw a sign promoting Thanksgiving Day mini-golf at a local establishment. Bring canned foods, play a few holes and go home before the course closes so the employees can get home to their own dinners. Kind of a fun thing to do outdoors with your out-of-town guests, I'm thinking.

• Work It Off Before You Eat It. Okay, this was officially cool. A club in Missouri is offering a 90-minute "gut-buster" Zumba workout that works as a pre-emptive strike against some of those calories participants are about to take in. The best part? Instead of paying a fee, participants bring items needed by the local Ronald McDonald House (a link to a list is included on the site). Oh, and by the way, the local newspaper picked this up and wrote an article about it. Great press for something that benefits a great cause.

These are a few ideas. I'm sure there are plenty of others, and I'd love to hear about them. Let me know what you're promoting so we can all share them and get ideas for next year.

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