Earn Your Turkey: 5 Ways to Get Outside and Move More for your Thanksgiving Celebration

Ditch the turkey coma and get outside.

By: Jen Weir
November 14, 2016

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Thanksgiving is a time of gluttony, football, family arguments and naps. If you're good with this, keep on truckin'. If you're tired of feeling like a bloated zombie, maybe it's time for a change. After all, while Thanksgiving revolves around good food, we need to remember what the holiday is all about; family, friends, a good beer or two and maybe even a little time spent feeling thankful.

Rather than binging, yet again, earn your turkey this year -- get outside and move your body. Here are a few tips to help you have an epic turkey day.

1. Get Your Crew on Board  

First things first, make sure you snag a few people to get out and enjoy the day with. While it's totally cool to go lone wolf, sometimes it's nice to have a little comradery. Pack up the kids and give them a day they'll never forget. Keep in mind that an epic Thanksgiving adventure may mean you won't get that smudged lipstick kiss from Aunt Ethel but you can always make it up with a random visit -- they love those.

2. Forgo the Butterball 

Let's face it, the turkey generally takes center stage during Thanksgiving but this year let's change things up. While Mom's stuffed turkey is mighty tasty, it's not exactly feasible packing an entire turkey up a mountain, down a river or into the wilderness. Instead, opt for something easy to transport like hot dogs (they do make turkey dogs) or sliced turkey breast if you're really hung up on the turkey. Pack whatever appeals to you and plan on cooking your Thanksgiving dinner over open campfire flames -- doesn't get any better than that.

3. Forage the Sides 

Now that the main dish is taken care of, let's focus on the sides because no Thanksgiving is complete without 15 different dishes. However, again keep it simple -- whatever you can pack. If you're feeling froggy, you can take it one step further and forage your food (movement + food = awesomeness). Use whatever your local wilderness/neighborhood has to offer. But please be sure you know what you're picking, nothing can spoil a party like a case of death by mushroom. If foraging just isn't on the table for you, make a trip to the farmer's market (if they're still going on in your area) or, at the very least, carry all of your food home from the store on foot. It might not be overly enjoyable, but earning your food always makes it taste that much better.

4. Don't Celebrate at Home 

While home is where the heart is, outside is where the magic happens. Pick a favorite hike and enjoy a Thanksgiving picnic on a mountain top or hit up a campground to take advantage of a hearty fire pit. And, remember, family cabins aren't only for summer time fun -- make it a gathering spot for the whole family to enjoy for the holiday.

5. Give Thanks for Your Able Body 

You know that body that carries you all over the place and allows you to do amazing things? Well, celebrate it; be thankful for it; use it. Snowshoe, hike, climb, slackline, kayak, swim, fish, hunt, camp, volunteer, backpack, mountain bike, surf; do whatever it is you love. Take advantage of the day off (maybe a couple of days if you're lucky) and use it to the fullest. This Thanksgiving, earn your turkey and take it outside.

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.