Health & FitnessNovember 27, 2015

Fitness Friday: Tips to avoid the double-bogey Thanksgiving

If you believe in the 80-20 rule—that you should eat healthy 80 percent of the time and devour whatever you want the other 20— then I'm guessing yesterday fell into the "whatever you want" category.

If you want to make sure you didn't make a long-term impact to your health, here are some tips for this weekend to help you recover quicker from that third helping of mashed potatoes:

1) Drink water all weekend long. Not just liquid, actual H20. Not only does water help many important body functions, it also satiates your appetite, so you'll resist the urge to continue your binge post Turkey Day. Robert Yang, nutritionist for the Titleist Peformance Institute, says a good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in water each day. That might be ambitious for many. But try to drink four or five bottles worth.

2) Eat high-fiber foods. Not only will items such as leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, and fruit help improve the digestion process, but they also help you feel full for longer periods, so you will resist the urge to keep on eating, says nutrition expert Amanda Carlson-Phillips of Exos.

3) Get out and run/walk. If weather permits, go outside and alternate between cycles of running hard for short distances and then walking until you catch your breath. This type of exercise, known as interval training, is great for calorie burning and also prepares you for the type of action required in a four-hour round of golf, says Golf Digest fitness advisor Randy Myers.

4) Do push-ups, planks and glute bridges. You'll certainly be glued to the TV for longer durations than normal this weekend. Drop down to the carpet for a solid 15-30 minutes and alternate between sets of these exercises. Strength training has been proven as an effective way to burn calories and continue burning them long after you've stopped exercising, says fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove.

5) If you can play golf, walk and carry your bag instead of riding. You can drop approximately 1,500 calories in one four-hour round, many studies have concluded. Plus that's four or five hours you won't be snacking. Read more: What's Your Golf Mileage?

6) Use the stairs everywhere you can. Not only for the extra calorie-burn, but also because it helps improve hip, glute and lower-body strength and mobility, says Golf Digest fitness advisor Ralph Simpson. Going down stairs also is beneficial.

7) Take advantage of the time off from work to catch up on sleep. At least seven to nine hours of sack time is crucial to good health, says sleep expert Mary Ellen Wells of the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine. There are varying stages of sleep, but the deepest is when things such as cells grow and muscles are repaired. It's vital to good health. Plus, if you're up at midnight instead of in bed, you're going to be looking for that turkey/mayo sandwich.

8) Sip it. Drinking alcohol in moderation is fine, and is almost expected during holiday weekends. but you'll be better off with drinks you sip vs. ones you chug. Try to make one drink last for well over an hour. If you prefer spirits over wine and beer, be sure to include ice or some water to dilute the alcohol and reduce caloric intake.

9) Clean your house, attic, garage, something. Scrubbing, vacuuming, dusting. It all adds up. Two hours of solid cleaning translates into about 1,000 calories burned and is consider a moderate physical activity by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Photo by Jim Luft

10) Practice putting. You can do this indoors or out. It's not a big calorie-burning endeavor but it does get you off your feet and doing something other than eating more. And you get to improve your short game as an added bonus.

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