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The Positive Health Benefits of Our Uncommon Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and you know what that means.  Yep, you guessed it: John Madden tournaments with the cousins!

Wait … what? Bear with me; I’ll bring it back around. Did you know that there’s more to thanksgiving traditions than turkey, the Macy’s parade, and Black Friday? 

With just a little research we found close to a hundred not-so-uncommon Thanksgiving traditions, such as: Playing a board game with family, hanging by the fire pit, cornhole, running a turkey trot, bocce ball, or other outdoor leisure games, and taking the kiddos to the playground just to name a few.

In our family, the John Madden trash talk starts right around this time.  Then on Thanksgiving day, first thing in the morning, you can hear John’s voice, “Boom”!  And the gaming has started, followed by lots of yelling.  At some point during the day, John’s video game character will say something like, “Here’s a guy who’s 6’,4”; which means at his height, he’s taller than the other players who are shorter than he is.”

Great stuff.  We’ll play Madden all day, only taking a break to eat with the whole family. 

The common theme here is quality leisure time with family and friends.  Whatever the activity, the benefits come from social interaction while letting go of the pressures of everyday life.  Laughing, playing, interacting, and just enjoying each other’s company is so good for us.

Leisure, recreation, and play with others reduces stress, decompresses our mental pressures, alleviates anxiety, enhances positivity, and heightens happiness.  Overall, our mental, emotional, psychological, and even physical health is restored and upgraded.  Literally, our joints, muscles, blood pressure, heart, brain, immune system, lymphatic system, organs, digestion, and so much more are all positively affected through play and leisure with others. 

Maybe not a cure for eating turducken, but it helps. 

Thanksgiving gives us a reason to do all this, but once a year isn’t nearly enough.  We can’t go to the gym for nine hours once a year and expect to be healthy and fit.  But going for 30 minutes every day will.  Same with play and leisure time.  All those benefits come from relaxing and decompressing on a regular basis.  Still do the full-day on Thanksgiving of course, but throughout the year, we really need to play.

Taking our kids to the playground for 30 minutes on a regular basis increases their learning capacity, alleviates stress, enhances focus and attention, and it positively affects their overall productivity.  But more importantly, all those health benefits. 

Regular bouts of play and leisure with others isn’t just for kids and it’s not just for Thanksgiving.  Neither is turkey, by the way.  And neither is Madden NFL Football. 

Let’s play.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo by MART  PRODUCTION: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-in-brown-sweater-sitting-on-brown-leather-couch-7330165/

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