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How to Have a Healthy Black Friday

black fridayThe day after Thanksgiving is typically called Black Friday by retailers – the day that many businesses use to pull themselves into “the black.” It is a day that many of us rise early, stand in long lines, and shop until we drop. We usually don’t get enough sleep, eat on the run and the only exercise that we experience is shoving past other shoppers to be the first to get a deeply discounted television set. How can we make sure that we don’t lose our healthy habits on this first and biggest official shopping day?

Make sure that you begin the day before, with Thanksgiving. Eat sensibly. After your big meal, engage in light exercise – maybe a walk with your family after dinner, or challenge your spouse to a Wii fitness show down. If you plan to rise before dawn to get the the shops early, be certain to plan for an earlier than normal bedtime. Count backwards to see when you need to go to sleep in order to obtain at least seven hours of sleep. Eat a healthy, low-fat breakfast – perhaps a bowl of oatmeal with dried fruits and nuts, or a fruit smoothie.

While you are out and about, be sure to plan your meals so that you don’t shop until you literally drop. Plan for a healthy snack every three hours – I usually pack a small packet of nuts or a piece of fruit. Don’t forget your water bottle; staying hydrated is important to keeping your brain functional and helping you to avoid fatigue.

At lunch, take the time to visit a healthier restaurant and avoid fast food choices like burgers and pizzas. Instead, choose a broth based soup and salad, or a lean chicken breast. If your only option is a fast food restaurant, though, do not despair. Many fast food restaurants offer nutritional guidelines. Take the time before you shop to determine what would be your best option at several different restaurants. Or, give yourself a break and help yourself to some Thanksgiving leftovers back at home!

Shopping for great deals on Black Friday doesn’t have to mean losing your fitness either. Before you leave your home, take a few minutes to do three sets each of 25 push ups, sit ups, squats and heel raises. Maybe other home fitness would fit in as well. While shopping, take the stairs as often as possible and park as far from the entrance as you can. Stop periodically to stretch – maybe incorporate your reminder to drink water at this time as well. While standing in those long lines, do squats, lunges or jog in place (will help you to stay warm, too!)

Black Friday doesn’t have to mean a black out of your healthy lifestyle. Plan ahead and you’ll be amazed at what you can do with your day!

November 27th, 2009

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