Thanksgiving Health
The Fitness Fixer
The Fitness Fixer

Thanksgiving Health

"How good it is to have friends visit from afar"
- The first lines of the Analects of Confucius
(Confucius is the Western name of Chinese scholar K'ung Fu Tzu)

Every year at Thanksgiving, some of my students are far from home or without a family to visit. We invite them to our little house for a warm meal on cushions by the fireplace.

We tell them the food is vegetarian and we sit on the floor without Western-style furniture. Some suddenly remember an uncle in Boston they'll visit. This year we're pleased that a former student is flying from Japan to visit after studying with us here years ago.

This is the link to last year's Fitness and Health as a Lifestyle for Thanksgiving to help holiday lifting, carrying, cooking, cleaning, and preparations. Here are more easy fun Thanksgiving fitness-as-a-lifestyle ideas:

  • If you're traveling far for holiday visits, here is Exercise and Stretch for Long Travel Sitting.

  • Sitting on the floor with good positioning is healthier than in chairs, and gives a built-in hip stretch. Done in rounded positioning, it is the same as bad sitting in chairs. Use Quick and Easy Strength and Balance Exercise.

  • Vegetarian and vegan food makes a full, healthy, good tasting Thanksgiving feast. It does not have to be strange or spartan. Avoid unfermented soy in powdered protein drinks, bars, and textured vegetable protein. It is not as healthy as promoted. Real food gives protein, and is healthier. See Is Your Health Food Unhealthful? and Get Muscles for Christmas.

  • While standing to prepare food at the counter, put your shoulders back with chin loosely in and hip tucked to neutral - photo example in Fast Fitness - Homemade Sports Food. Then your neck and back will not hurt during cooking.

  • Even if you need to hurry to prepare and clean, remember to be happy that you are well-off enough to have things to prepare and clean.

  • Have kids help, rather than stressing to do everything alone while they miss the discipline, good habits, and exercise of helping you. Make it fun to be together.

  • Instead of hunching shoulders and rushing to get the cooking done, straighten, breathe, and use each stroke of washing and cutting as a meditation.

  • Get free bending and spiritual exercise by cleaning closets to donate clothing to warm someone in need. Every year Paul and I stand with a clothing bag in city alleys near the shelters. Extra large homeless women take Paul's extra large shirts and jackets. Squirrelly homeless men pick out my small jeans. They smile jagged-toothed smiles at their new clothes. We enjoy listening to their stories and sharing warm home-baked food with them.

  • Laugh until your cheeks hurt.

  • "Before eating, give thanks to the food" - Arapaho Native American proverb.

  • When possessions break, give thanks for having possessions, which is more than much of the world has. When your faucet leaks, give thanks that you have running water. When we lived in Asia, we walked down only two flights to a bathroom then climbed back two flights with a jug of water for cooking. People in many places in the world walk miles just for the privilege of digging for food and carrying heavy water pots back. That gives perspective on Westerners who easily eat much and exercise little, and believe only the most minor contributors to weight gain - Metabolism - How to Lose Weight and Save Money.

  • There are groups of mountain monks in Japan, who, after going to the bathroom, give thanks because everything worked. Learn to give thanks for all the little things and big things.

  • Get rid of an enemy this Thanksgiving. Abraham Lincoln explained: "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"

We are fortunate to have food, and cushions, and a warm fire, and friends who visit from afar. Thank you readers for using my work to make your lives better. You are my gifts.

More on the exercise of living happily and giving thanks in Healthy Martial Arts.

ThankYou photo by ARendle
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About the Author


Dr. Bookspan is an award-winning scientist whose goal is to make exercise easier and healthier.