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Thanksgiving Could Have Been Good For You?!

picture of thanksgiving food

Now is often the time that many people are feeling guilty from indulging over Thanksgiving and the days of leftovers that follow. I have felt this way and understand that it may be tempting to repeatedly kick your butt in the gym to pay for all of the stuffing and pumpkin pie you ate.

However, could the time spent eating and relaxing with family actually have provided something good for you?!

Yes! Now, I’m not saying that stuffing your face with loads of holiday goodness is healthy, however some time away from the daily grind can be just what the Doctor ordered.

The Washington, DC area is an amazing place that is filled with incredibly driven, hard working people. They work long hours, often sleep too little, and deal with a hectic metro system or the crazy DC traffic. On top of all that, they attempt to kick their butt in the gym.

Does this sound at all like you?

If so, you likely gained a great deal from the time away over Thanksgiving.

The reason is simple. The body functions best in a position of balance. When the body starts from a place of neutrality it can easily adjust to demands placed upon it. It can ramp things up to meet a challenge, such as getting through a tough workout, or ramp things down to digest a big meal (you may have recently experienced this). However, the body becomes imbalanced if you are consistently stressing it without slowing things down.

As the day to day stress accumulates from a lack of sleep, long hours at the office and other stressors, the body becomes less able to ramp it up as the body is already there. This is similar to driving a car close to the engine’s maximum capacity and then ask it to drive harder.

Eventually the body becomes fatigued, workouts become a struggle and you find yourself making a few extra runs to Starbucks just to get through the day.

In this case, Thanksgiving allowed the body to relax, recover and slow the engine down a bit.

The only problem is that you can’t have an extended holiday every month to recover. However, you can learn to implement methods into you daily life that allows the body to recover from your daily stressors. This allows you to be more productive at work and in the gym when you need to turn things up, and even allow you to sleep better when you need to wind it down. A more balanced body can better adjust to what is asked of it.

Some methods worth exploring include meditation, journaling, a relaxing walk, or even some time alone practicing relaxed breathing in a dark room without a cell phone, computer, tv, etc. Yes, we all need more time away from our technology!

Implementing methods such as these are an easy way to get the body back closer to normal. This will have a profound effect on your energy levels, mood and productivity.

Now, I must mention that constant stress can lead to physical pain. In this case help from a physical therapist or another health care provider may be warranted. To determine if this is necessary for you, feel free to contact me at the e-mail address or phone number below.

Balance is an incredibly powerful thing and something we have control over. We simply need to recognize the stressors we all have in our lives and implement methods to balance them when needed.

For more information regarding this please feel free to contact me at zacharyc@cohenhealth.com or (240-686-5609).

Dr. Zachary Cohen PT, DPT, CSCS

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