Thanksgiving is a time of rest, relaxation, and reconnecting with family and friends. A day of family and fun typically culminates with the traditional Thanksgiving feast, including turkey and stuffing, potatoes and gravy, too many types of pie to list, and a whole host of delicious side dishes and drinks. While Thanksgiving is certainly a time to be enjoyed, it is also a time where people tend to overindulge and make poor diet and exercise decisions.
Dietary Habits and Heart Disease
The President’s Council on Fitness, Sport, & Nutrition notes that poor diet and lack of exercise are associated with major health risks, the most serious being heart disease. Heart disease is a term used to describe the myriad problems that can affect a person’s heart, such as hardening of the blood vessels, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and heart failure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the number one cause of death in America.
However, good eating habits and regular exercise are the surest ways to reduce your risk for heart disease. Here are just a few ways to stay healthy during the upcoming holiday.
- Portion Control: Seeing that delicious buffet may make you want to pile your plate high, but this inevitably leads to overeating. Instead, be deliberate with your choices, and don’t load up too much on any one unhealthy item. For instance, make sure that you have plenty of vegetables right next to those marshmallow sweet potatoes.
- Stay Hydrated: Coupled with portion control, make sure you drink lots of water throughout the day. People often mistake hunger for thirst, and water can act as an appetite suppressant without adding any calories, which helps prevent overeating.
- Get Some Fresh Air: While it’s easy and tempting to spend the entire day relaxing on the couch in front of the TV, be sure to get at least 30 minutes of exercise on Thanksgiving. Head outside at halftime and throw the football around or take a walk with your favorite aunt after dinner. Not only will exercise help you burn some of those calories you just put on, but it will also help you resist that second slice of pie. Regardless of what activity you choose, just make sure to do something that will get your heart rate up after that tasty dinner.
- Remain Active: As much as you may want to spend the day after Thanksgiving basking in the afterglow of food and family, it’s important to commit to making good habits a part of your daily routine. Hopefully, you did eat healthy and get some exercise on Thanksgiving. Follow that up with a trip to the park or a jog with a friend the following day. Be committed to burning off those extra calories and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Learn More About Canopy Health
If you or a loved one are suffering with heart disease, the Canopy Health network might be the right choice for you. Our hospitals and physicians offer some of the very best cardiovascular and cardiology care in the entire country, and we have more than a dozen hospitals located conveniently throughout eight counties, as well as numerous outpatient facilities throughout the Bay Area for regular follow-up treatment.
Health risks of being overweight. (2012, December). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov
Heart disease statistics and maps. (2015, August 10). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/statistics_maps.htm
Why is it important? (n.d.). President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/programs/prevention-and-wellness/nutrition-and-fitness/index.html