For many Americans, the tradition of Thanksgiving dinner is followed up by another tradition: shopping. Many people hit the malls and shopping centers on the day after Thanksgiving, known as Black Friday, seeking unbeatable deals on special gifts for family and friends. Some retailers start the shopping festivities even earlier, opening in the afternoon or evening of Thanksgiving itself.
When you think about shopping, you don’t necessarily think about fitness—but yes, there are plenty of ways to combine the two! If you’re doing any post-Thanksgiving shopping, check out these tips for you to help you stay active.
If you’re going to the mall or a shopping center on Black Friday (or even later on during Thanksgiving Day):
- Wear your sneakers. You’re going to be on your feet a lot—this isn’t the best opportunity to show off your favorite stilettos! Wear comfortable shoes that you can easily walk in.
- Add extra weight. If you’re looking to challenge yourself a little more when walking around your shopping destination, purchase some inexpensive wrist or ankle weights to use.
- Park at the far end of the parking lot. This will help you get more walking in, especially if you’re bringing a few loads of bags back to your car during the course of the day.
- Do laps. If you’re shopping with a buddy, take turns getting active. Leave your friend holding your places in line waiting to get into the store, and you go take a lap around the store or a floor of the mall. Then switch places, so you each get a little physical activity.
- Take the stairs. The escalators are likely to be crowded with shoppers who are in a hurry. Avoid the crowd and take the stairs—and rack up more steps in the process!
- In lines, walk in place. You’ll likely be doing a lot of waiting in lines—either waiting to get into a store, or waiting at the checkout aisle. Keep your heart rate and energy up by walking in place instead of simply standing.
- Bicep-curl your bags. This is another good activity to do if you’re waiting in line. Use your shopping bags as weights and do a few bicep curls to strengthen your muscles!
Not braving the mall on Black Friday—or prefer to do your shopping online on Cyber Monday? These tips can help you stay active as you click through deals and discounts at your computer!
- Stretch at your desk. There are many simple stretches you can do to help keep yourself flexible and comfortable while you scour the web for deals. Click the links to view stretches recommended by WebMD, the Mayo Clinic, and Healthline.
- Take a break. Be sure to regularly get up from your chair to stand up or walk around—avoid sitting for long periods of time.
- Get some fresh air. While you’re taking a break, it’s a great idea to take a quick, brisk walk outside in the crisp, cool November air.
And no matter where you’re shopping, be sure to follow these general wellness tips:
- Rest up. Going out to shop when it’s cold and crowded can be stressful. Give yourself the best head start by getting a solid night’s sleep the night before you go.
- Start your busy day with a healthy breakfast, and bring healthy snacks (almonds, whole-grain crackers, or fresh fruit like apples or bananas) to keep you energized throughout the day.
- If you’re driving to your favorite store, drive safely! Be extra careful, calm, and observant, as the roads may be more trafficky and full of other shoppers racing to their destinations.
- Try not to stress out! Shop calmly, and remember that the holidays are for more than just gift-giving—and that often, spending time with loved ones is the best gift you can give.
For Health Advocate Members
If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to our Wellness Coaching program, call your coach for more ideas to stay active, healthy, and happy during the holidays!