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Categories: fitness, Healthy Living, holiday, Uncategorized

Staying active is important during the holidays

Kayla Thompson, MS, ACSM-EP

The busy holiday season approaches! Thanksgiving feast planning and Christmas shopping is getting closer to the top of our “to do” lists with exercise…well, maybe not the exercise.  But remember, staying active is important and does not have to last hours. A simple 15-to-20-minute workout routine can make all the difference in a day. There are 1,440 minutes in one day and investing 15 to 20 for your health is worth it!

I want to touch on two things this month.

Topic number one is the Turkey Trot. I promise I haven’t lost it! If you have never heard of a turkey trot, it is a walk/run event  held nationwide. Most states have several leading up to, and even on, Thanksgiving Day. Most events are 5k/3.1 mile runs or 10k/6.2 mile runs. They are great  events for beginners and/or anyone trying to get some activity in before the great feast! (P.S. you can walk it if running is not your thing).

I encourage you all to consider participating in a Turkey Trot or even having one at home with the families in your neighborhood. You can walk or run or both! Get creative!

Topic number two focuses on our movement of the month. In October, we discussed resistance bands. As promised, we are going to look at an exercise involving your new best friend, the mini loop band with a movement known as the side-step. The side-step is a fantastic movement to strengthen those glutes and hips! Begin with a lightweight mini loop band and progress band levels as your body gets stronger.

  • Begin by placing the mini loop band around your ankles
  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and a slight bend in the knees and hips
  • Keep your chest up and back flat throughout the movement – remember, good posture is important in all you do
  • Once in a good position, step to the side with your leading foot – you aren’t going for a split-style distance; slightly outside the shoulder will be beneficial
  • You will feel the band resist against your leg – if it is too challenging, try shortening your step
  • Follow with your back leg and step toward your front leg – note here, do not allow your back leg to drag!
  • Maintain control of both legs throughout the movement and repeat for a set number of times or a certain distance – If you choose to do 20 side-steps with your left leg leading, you need to do another 20 with your right leg leading.

There is a variation to the side-step that can amp things up a bit. If you are looking to really feel that burn or the side-step above does not seem challenging enough, try this out.

  • Do a half squat and hold that position throughout the side-step – as you side-step in a half squat, you really engage those thighs!
  • You can also try positioning the mini loop band below or above the knee and trying the half squat side-step for a bigger challenge. Remember to not overdo it – Listen to your body here!

Progress in this movement as your body allows. It is always crucial to listen to your body. If it is too easy, make it harder. Increase the repetitions, try a half squat or a heavier weighted band. If you are incredibly sore for days after, your body is saying it was too much. Back it down a bit next time and see how your body responds.

Don’t forget to log your activity so you can see your progress. Keep incorporating those resistance bands into our previous movements as well. If you have any questions, send me an email at

I know things are getting busy but don’t put your health on hold! Try incorporating small bouts of exercise a few times a day to get it in. It is as simple as a 10-minute walk before going to work, 10 air squats on your lunch break, and a dance party with the kids after dinner. Consider a turkey trot or family activity on Thanksgiving Day! Get up and get after it!

Kayla Thompson is a diabetes care coordinator at the HopeHealth Medical Plaza in Florence and is a certified exercise physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine. She has a Master of Science in clinical exercise



HopeHealth educates its patients on the importance of having a health care home. As a primary care facility, HopeHealth’s medical team works to prevent and detect illness and the early onset of disease, provide routine physical examinations and promote overall healthy lifestyles.

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