What is Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness?

Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness is a day set aside to exercise in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday. The first Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness event was on November 27th, 1990, when Dr. John O’Sullivan and his cohorts in the American College of Sports Medicine initiated it as an experiment to see if people could be encouraged to exercise regularly for a month. The experiment worked: participants exercised for about 30 minutes every day during November and lost an average of 3 pounds each after four weeks (for a total weight loss of 120 pounds).


It is expected that people who join Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness will have an excuse for exercising regularly. It may be their lifelong goal, giving them a chance to meet it and feel that they are accomplishing something. It may be a new experience or hobby, especially if they are unable or unwilling to change their current routines. After all, it’s free exercise: no cost of equipment, membership fees, or anything else.

How can you use Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness?

You can use Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness any time during the month of November (or any month) to gather some exercise in with your normal routines so that you can continue to do it even when the season ends.

Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness can be an opportunity to use the benefits of exercise to work on one’s self-discipline. On a day when there will be no reason to exercise, one can still do it just because it is part of a pattern. It gives people a chance to remind themselves that they are responsible for their bodies, even if they were not born with them. Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness is also a way for people to express gratitude for being able to have the time and energy for Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness.


The advantages of Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness are many. One is that it will help people get in better shape, just in time for the holiday season. A second advantage is that it will give them no reason not to exercise. The holiday season usually brings with it a lot of socializing, which can interfere with exercise. Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness gets around this by providing an excuse to exercise, so the benefits can be enjoyed before and after the holidays as well.

Another advantage is that Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness lets people take a break from the usual routines they have when they exercise and try something new, something they may have never done before and might not otherwise have tried because of its cost or inconvenience. Yet another advantage is that it provides a framework within which people can achieve their exercise goals. It gives them the opportunity to work toward something specific and make the most of their time and energy.


It is hard to think of disadvantages until one tries Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness, at which point they may become obvious. One disadvantage is that people might not get around to exercising until just before or after Thanksgiving, or even during it. Another is that Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness can only happen once every year, unless one wants to move all the days into another month.

Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness can cause a slight increase in injuries over the holiday season, especially among people who are exercising more than usual. Those who participate in Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness should be aware of this and compensate by being extra careful during the holiday season.


Participants should not make any special preparations for Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness unless they feel that they need motivation to begin with. It may be helpful to join a gym or buy some equipment for exercise in advance, so that it is ready when the urge strikes to Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness.

Since it is free exercise, all that those who participate in Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness need is time and energy. They should be prepared to spend a small amount of time and energy to see the benefits of Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness. Participants also need a way to remember to exercise every day: it may not be enough to rely on their memories or calendar reminders; they should put up physical reminders around where they work and live, such as sticky notes or Post-it notes in conspicuous places (or even wristwatches, if they are so inclined). It is probably a good idea for participants to set aside some extra time after the holidays so that they can begin exercising again in the new year.


It is suggested that those who wish to participate in Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness save their time and energy for the holidays instead of spending it to buy equipment.

Many health clubs will be closed during the holiday season, but it may be possible for a person to join a gym or health club under another name during this period. One may also want to try gym equipment that one would not normally use, such as rowing machines, treadmills with speakers, and staircases.

Manufacturers of exercise equipment sell items specifically designed for Exercise Thanksgiving Fitness that can be purchased at a fraction of their normal price. A treadmill with audio may cost $300-$700 retail during the holiday season, but can usually be had for much less.


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