5 Thanksgiving activities that are more active than eating turkey

Families assemble from all over Canada, post-secondary students head back home, turkeys nation-wide fear for their lives, and many of us get to enjoy a long weekend filled with delicious food and comfy sweaters.

It’s Thanksgiving. A time for turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin or apple-picking, longs walks after dinner, and a bounty of reasons to get active.

And while it almost feels like a holiday borrowed from our southerly neighbours, there are a few subtle but important ways that we define this day as being distinctly Canadian. 

Not only does our Thanksgiving happen a full month earlier, it’s also prime season for getting outside to pick a pumpkin, enjoy photogenic autumn colours, or breathe that crisp autumn air as you install your winter tires. (So they’re not all pumpkin-spiced moments from an active wear catalogue.)

It’s a time of year where different traditions meld together in celebration of the same thing – gathering together with family and friends. And what better way to say thanks than to collectively improve our health? You might even have some fun along the way (read: definitely).

This year, mark Thanksgiving as a day for active living! It’s always a good time to start a new tradition, especially one that will get the whole family active. Strap on your finest fall wears – from hockey jerseys to good ol’ flannel – and enjoy the crisp outdoors!

Here are our tips for hosting a great -- and distinctly Canadian -- active Thanksgiving!

  • Admire the sights of the neighbourhood with a cool autumn walk. A bit of light physical activity after a big meal can be a great way to let your food settle, and it’s an easy way to include the whole family. Slow roast your walk this year and savour every step by debating what board game or dessert to cap your night off with!
  • Pumpkin picking at a patch can be a delightful addition to your Thanksgiving activity roster. Plus, you may be able to pick up a wicked pumpkin pie from the ‘patch, in case you want to shave some time off your prep work this year. Like pumpkin-spiced everything else, pie is a T-day winner! And what better way to fill your cornucopia than with a colourful batch of miniature pumpkins?
  • Replace gobble gobble with gobble go-biking! With winter approaching, it might be the last chance for a leisurely family bike ride. And hey, if you get active now, you’ll be in great shape by the time Black Friday hits. No more out-of-breath runs through the superstore!
  • Buck the habit of settling down to watch the CFL’s annual Thanksgiving Day Classic and take it to the streets for a game of road hockey. As an alternate, we would also suggest rugby or even touch football. Just remember to play CFL rules; after all, we’re Canadian!
  • If you host Thanksgiving this year, be sure to encourage your guests to participate in all the active fun; jokingly threaten to withhold dessert until everyone’s broken sweat at least a little bit!

ParticipACTION Active Thanksgiving Graphic

Thanksgiving can certainly be a stressful affair; so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your guests – it might just be the thing that spurs them to get off the couch! While it’s certainly the day to eat turkey, don’t be a turkey yourself! It’s a great time to get active, be Canadian, and celebrate all that we are thankful for – including ourselves and our health!