Get Moving

This time of year we often see lots of family and friends for various gatherings, often for prolonged periods of sitting and eating.  While that is fun, sometimes we can miss out on our regular exercise routine because we are preparing, shopping, or prepping for meals.  It means this is often the season of a lot more calories in and a lot less calories out.  So how do you get your family moving?

There are fun ways to incorporate movement that can include the whole family and might actually get you all laughing together.  Remember, movement shouldn’t be a chore or a bore.  It can and should be fun.

Eleven Tips for Getting your Family Moving around the Holidays

  • Walk Between Dinner and Dessert

As an added bonus, taking a walk often gets you out of dish duty.

  • Play Charades or Another Physical Game

If your family needs a real challenge, show up this year with Twister.

  • Stretch Between Courses

Think of this like the seven inning stretch.  Get up and get moving.  Pick gentle stretches that feel good.  Some shoulder shrugs or a group hip flexor stretch.

  • Dance While Washing Dishes

Put on some fun music and dance while you clean up.  I think of this Big Chill scene.

  • Family Challenge

For the competitive family and friends:  pick a challenge.  Who can do the most calf raises?  Which relative can hold plank the longest?  Who can do the most push-ups? (I think Ellen and Michele Obama had that competition years ago.)  You can even give out prizes if it helps motivate people.

  • Show Off

Do you have a move you are particularly proud of?  Show your family.  Have them show you their best moves.

  • Morning Run/Walk

Every Thanksgiving morning in Old Wethersfield a group of people meet at the green for a run before the craziness really sets in.  It’s a great way to start the day.  If you live in Connecticut, there is always the Manchester Road Race.  Our maybe you just want to get up and take a run or a walk with the people you love the most.  Remember, movement is a great way to reduce stress.  You may think taking time for exercise will add to what you have to do, but instead, you just might find you feel better.

  • Set Up A Challenge Course

For those who love Survivor or American Ninja Warrior, consider setting up an outdoor or indoor challenge course.  It could even be fairly simple things like balancing on a log.

  • Act Like A Kid Again

When I was a kid we used to have piggy back races and wheel barrel races.  In one, the smaller person gets on the bigger person’s back and groups of pairs race around the house.  In the other the smaller person gets in a plank while the bigger person lifts the smaller person’s legs and you race around the house.  If you have kids, this can be a ton of fun.   Or if your family is really fit, you can try it with pairs of adults.  I just can’t think of many adults I’d be able to carry on my back.

  • Get on the Floor

If your family leaves the table for gifts of discussion, pick a seat on the floor.  You may need a little lift like a pillow to sit comfortably, but getting up and down off the floor is great functional movement.  And sitting on the floor is a skill we should all try to maintain.

  • Corn Hole

This beanbag throwing game is all the rage now.  You don’t have to have regulations distances, but you can if you want.

I’d truly love to hear which one your family is most likely to join you in…


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About the Author:

Maggie Downie
Thank you for giving your time to stop and read my blog. I hope it encourages you to keep moving. Move and the body will be happier. And when you're moving you can hike, run, swim in Jell-O, race over non-Newtonian fluids, travel the world or build igloos--if that's your thing. If not, you can watch me do it. This is just a spot to try and feel good about life.


  1. Dotty Twachtman November 14, 2017 at 8:00 am - Reply

    Oh Maggie…please come to our family gathering and be our Team Leader…there’s a bunch of us and we are all “movers”…you are the best!!!! Happy Thanksgiving {I’m thankful for you!!!}

    • Maggie Downie
      Maggie Downie December 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      I’m late to replying to this, but that would have been fun! I love that you are a family of movers!

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