Best After Thanksgiving Workouts to Burn Off Your Meal

In this blog article, we will explore the best workouts to engage in after Thanksgiving, focusing on exercises that address post-meal bloating and promote gentle movement.

6 min read

Health & Wellness

Best After Thanksgiving Workouts to Burn Off Your Meal

Thanksgiving is a time for delicious meals, family gatherings, and indulging in a feast of delectable treats. However, after enjoying a hearty Thanksgiving meal, many of us may feel the need to counterbalance the excess calories consumed. Engaging in post-Thanksgiving workouts not only helps burn off those extra calories but also promotes overall well-being. In this blog article, we will explore the best workouts to engage in after Thanksgiving, focusing on exercises that address post-meal bloating and promote gentle movement.

First, we must understand the importance of post-Thanksgiving workouts. There are huge benefits to moving your body after a heavy meal. Engaging in exercise after a big meal can aid digestion, prevent bloating, and boost metabolism. Physical activity stimulates the muscles in your digestive system, helping your body process the food more efficiently.

Exercising after a heavy meal can have several scientific benefits for both your health and mood.


Benefits of Exercising After a Heavy Meal

1. Improved Digestion

Engaging in physical activity after a heavy meal can help stimulate digestion by increasing blood flow to the digestive system. This enhanced blood flow aids in the absorption and transportation of nutrients, potentially reducing discomfort or bloating(1).


2. Enhanced Metabolism

Exercise can temporarily boost your metabolic rate, meaning your body burns calories more efficiently. When you exercise after a meal, you may experience a greater calorie burn, helping to prevent excess weight gain (1,2).


3. Blood Sugar Regulation

After consuming a heavy meal, blood sugar levels may rise. Exercise can help regulate blood sugar by increasing insulin sensitivity, allowing your body to use glucose more effectively. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with diabetes or insulin resistance(1,2).


4. Mood Elevation

Physical activity triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. Exercising after a heavy meal can help counteract post-meal fatigue, improve mental clarity, and promote a sense of well-being(2).


5. Reduced Risk of Chronic Diseases

Regular exercise has been linked to a decreased risk of various chronic conditions, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers. By incorporating exercise after heavy meals, you contribute to an overall healthier lifestyle, potentially reducing the risk of these diseases in the long run(1,2,4).

Remember to listen to your body and choose exercises that are comfortable and safe after a heavy meal. It's generally recommended to wait for about 1-2 hours after eating before engaging in vigorous physical activity to allow for proper digestion(4). Post-Thanksgiving meal, you might consider partaking in more gentle movement as your food digests.


The Importance of Gentle Movement for Post-meal Comfort

After indulging in a Thanksgiving feast, you might consider workouts that provide comfort and alleviate bloating. Gentle movement exercises, such as stretching and walking, can help relieve discomfort while still burning calories. Here are two post-Thanksgiving gentle exercise ideas:


1. Stretching and Yoga

Stretching exercises and yoga postures can be particularly beneficial after a heavy meal(3). These types of exercise help relieve bloating, enhance digestion, and promote relaxation. Two of my favorite Yoga poses are Child’s pose and forward fold. In Child's Pose, kneel on the floor, sit your glutes back on your heels, and extend your arms forward in front of you, your shoulders should be near your ears. Let your head fall through your arms and spread your fingers. Inhale and exhale slowly, relaxing into the pose with each exhale. This pose stretches the lower back and abdomen, aiding digestion(4). In Forward Fold, stand with your feet hip-width apart and slowly bend forward hinging at the hip crease, allowing your upper body to hang loose. Think of your body folding in half. Again, inhale and exhale slowly and focus on relaxing with each exhale. Hold each stretch for at least thirty seconds to a minute. This stretch targets the hamstrings and lower back, promoting blood flow to aid digestion(4).


2. Walking or Light Jogging

Walking or light jogging is an excellent way to burn calories while enjoying fresh air. Engaging in a post-meal walk not only helps digestion but also aids in reducing bloating. Aim for a brisk walk or light jog for at least 30 minutes to reap the benefits(5). Make sure to warm up at a slower pace first, for about 3-5 minutes, so your body is prepared for the increased demand of a faster pace. Maintain good posture with a tall spine and braced core. As you step, land softly in your heel and roll through your toe to avoid stomping and unnecessary impact. Maintain a comfortable pace and keep the elbows tight to the body. Try to keep your hips and shoulders square to avoid excessive twisting through your torso. If you opt to do a light jog, think of moving your hands towards your temples as you swing your arms forward, and on the way down swing your hands to your side pants pockets. This cue helps keep your body positioned in the correct plane of motion. Do not forget to cool down and stretch afterwards.

Disclosures: The information provided in this blog post is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise program.


2 Tips from Coach Denise For Effective Post-Thanksgiving Fitness

1. Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is crucial for overall well-being and effective workouts. Drinking water before, during, and after exercise helps maintain optimal hydration levels, supports digestion, and aids in flushing out toxins.


2. Portion Control

While exercise plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is essential to remember that portion control is equally important. Balancing your calorie intake with physical activity ensures a sustainable approach to health and fitness.



Remember that engaging in post-Thanksgiving workouts can effectively burn off extra calories, aid digestion, and alleviate discomfort that might follow indulgence in your favorite holiday treats. By incorporating gentle movement exercises like stretching, yoga, walking, or light jogging, you can promote overall well-being while still enjoying the holiday season. Do not forget that it is crucial to listen to your body and choose workouts that feel comfortable and support both your physical and mental health. By incorporating these post-Thanksgiving workouts into your routine, you can maintain a healthy balance and enjoy the holidays guilt-free.

Happy Thanksgiving!


1. Livovsky, D. M., Pribic, T., & Azpiroz, F. (2020). Food, Eating, and the Gastrointestinal Tract. Nutrients, 12(4), 986. Accessed 26 October 2023.
2. Whitley, H. A., Humphreys, S. M., Campbell, I. T., Keegan, M. A., Jayanetti, T. D., Sperry, D. A., MacLaren, D. P., Reilly, T., & Frayn, K. N. (1998). Metabolic and performance responses during endurance exercise after high-fat and high-carbohydrate meals. Journal of Applied Physiology, 85(2), 418–424. Accessed 26 October 2023.
3. Stewart, J. A. (1910). Thanksgiving Day Exercise. Journal of Education. Accessed 26 October 2023.
4. Kavuri, V., Raghuram, N., Malamud, A., & Selvan, S. R. (2015). Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Yoga as Remedial Therapy. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015, 1–10. Accessed 26 October 2023.
5. Myette-Côté, É., Durrer, C., Neudorf, H., Bammert, T. D., Botezelli, J. D., Johnson, J. D., DeSouza, C. A., & Little, J. P. (2018). The effect of a short-term low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet with or without postmeal walks on glycemic control and inflammation in type 2 diabetes: a randomized trial. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 315(6), R1210–R1219. Accessed 26 October 2023.


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