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Walk Away from Thanksgiving Stress

8 Reasons to Make Walking a Holiday Tradition

There are lots of reasons to be thankful this time of the year, unfortunately for many stress often overshadows gratitude. Whether it’s traffic jams, hours of cooking and cleaning, family conflicts, or guilt over too much indulging that’s creating stress for you, an after-dinner stroll–either solo or with family or friends–can help in a variety of ways. Here’s how!

Eat less dessert. Sneak a walk in between dinner and dessert to curb a sweet tooth. Even self-proclaimed chocoholics were better able to control their cravings after a walk.

Tame blood sugar spikes. Strolling for just 15 minutes after a large meal lowers blood sugar levels. Spikes in blood sugar can increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

De-frazzle. No matter what role you’re playing this Thanksgiving—hostess, traveler, peacekeeper—holidays are stressful. You’ll feel more relaxed after a walk.

Reduce screen time. Walking while on your phone is not recommended. (More than a 1,000 people a year end up in the emergency room due to injuries sustained from using their cell phones while walking.) So a post-dinner walk is a perfect opportunity to get everyone to put away electronics.

Prevent heartburn. Walking beats brandy or coffee when it comes to digesting a big meal.

Diffuse hot topics. Whether it’s politics, religion, football, or good ol’ family stuff that heats up the dinner table conversation, taking a time out by going for a walk—either alone or together—can cool things off.

Blast fat. Blood levels of triglycerides (a kind of fat that clogs your arteries) rise after meals, particularly big, fatty ones. But an after dinner walk can decrease levels. And it burns calories to tackle the more visible type of fat, too.

Rev up for Black Friday. If you’re planning to battle the crowds, take a walk first to get energized. It will also clear your head and reduce stress so you make smarter purchasing decisions.

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