On The Table

A collection of knowledge-based articles to inspire overall wellness.

5 Thanksgiving-Themed Workout Ideas

Thanksgiving is often food-filled but it can also be a time for enjoyable movement - here are 5 ways to do so!

5 Thanksgiving-Themed Workout Ideas

While the holiday season may make you think more of food than exercise, it’s a perfect time for both! Fun Thanksgiving workouts can fit in between festivities. Plus, Thanksgiving exercises can help you feel grateful for what your body can do. 

Read on for the five best Thanksgiving workout ideas. 

Thanksgiving Themed Workouts

Did you know that a simple slice of canned cranberry sauce contains 86 calories? It’s no wonder overconsumption is a worry around the Thanksgiving holiday. Luckily, fun Thanksgiving-themed workouts exist to help you maintain a better sense of balance. 

From strength training to cardio, there’s an activity for everyone. Here are five terrific ideas to celebrate Turkey Day, including fun for the whole family. 

1. Take A Hike 

Besides raising your heart rate, a fall hike has many benefits. It allows you to enjoy the changing of the leaves while also burning calories, and hiking uphill can even be considered high intensity. Plus, it can be a day workout that’s perfect for all ages if you have family in town. 

2. Sign Up For A Turkey Trot

Perhaps the most popular form of exercise prior to thanksgiving dinner, annual Turkey Trot runs always amass a crowd. The easiest way to find a race near you is to use a search engine and enter “turkey trot + city” (i.e. “turkey trot Los Angeles”). Races generally range from 5Ks to full-on marathons, so weekly workouts leading up to the big event may be helpful. 

3. Host A Family Football Game 

Round up family members for a friendly game of touch or flag football. You can burn almost 600 calories playing, and about half that many dancing or cheering from the sidelines!

4. Try Turkey-Inspired Yoga Poses

Yoga is known for increasing flexibility and requiring subtle strength. Some poses may even help relieve bloating, a common symptom of overeating. Try turkey-like poses, which can be tailored to adults or kids, to get in the Thanksgiving spirit. 

5. Volunteer To Cook Thanksgiving Meal 

Common activities involved in meal preparation can help you burn calories. For example, 30 minutes of pushing a shopping cart can burn about 135 calories. 

Other activities, such as standing in line, cleaning the house, and cooking can also help you burn anywhere from 50-100 calories. 

The Last Word On Turkey Day Workouts

Even if you only have 30 minutes, there are plenty of ways to get moving on Turkey Day. Beyond burning calories, exercise can help you enjoy the outdoors and time together with family. From Turkey Trot races to backyard football games, there’s something fun for everyone to be involved in. 


American Heart Association. American Heart Association Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids. Heart.org. Published April 2018. 

Chavanelle N. 7 Fun Facts About Turkey Trots. Active.com. Published October 2017. 

Tipane J. Turkey Torcher: 4 Quick Workouts That’ll Fit Between Courses. Greatist.com. Published October 2020. 

University of Rochester Medical Center. Calorie Burn Rate Calculator. Urmc.rochester.edu. Accessed 2022. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture. Cranberry sauce, canned, sweetened. Fdc.nal.usda.gov. Published April 2019.