Post-Thanksgiving Stretches to Reduce Belly Bloat

Sherwin Garcia

November 26, 2021

Thanksgiving Dinner has come and gone. You wake up from your turkey and mashed potato-induced slumber, and all you want to do is curl up and get right back to sleep.

Then you realize it’s time to get up and perform your workout, which is the last thing you want to do after overindulging yourself the night before. That pumpkin pie was simply too tempting to pass up, and who can refuse fourths of turkey? Don’t even get started with how much you drank.

Here are simple post-Thanksgiving stretches to help you get rid of a bloated belly.

Child’s Pose

 

You can perform this stretch while relaxing in front of the TV for a stress-free start to feeling great.  

Benefits 

  • aids in digestion
  • helps relieve back pain 
  • stretches your back, hips, and ankles
  • helps reduce anxiety and stress

Steps

  1. Kneel on your hands and knees, with your hands at shoulder-width apart. 
  2. Sit back into your heels and extend your torso forward, with your stomach lying on your thighs. 
  3. If you want a deeper stretch, spread your knees apart and gently rest your forehead on the floor. 
  4. Extend your arms above your head and allow them to rest in front of you. Release any tension in your jaw and face. 
  5. Finally, exhale as you open up between your shoulder blades.  

Cat/Cow

Benefits

This is one of the post-Thanksgiving stretches that promote dynamic flow and stimulate digestion while stretching your chest, neck, and spine. It also helps strengthen your abdomen and arms.

Steps

  1. Align your wrists squarely beneath your shoulders and your knees directly beneath your hips.
  2. Maintain a neutral pelvis by not tucking or arching your back. Spread your fingers wide and ground down through your thumb and index fingers.
  3. Spread your fingers wide and ground down through your thumb and index fingers.
  4. Drop your head as you draw your belly into your spine. Look down at the floor or toward your navel. Hold for 1-5 breaths.
  5. To keep your lower back from sinking, arch your back and draw your stomach muscles toward your spine. (Try not to let your stomach droop.) Hold this position for 1-5 breaths, 
  6. Lift your sternum and arch your upper back to lift your sitting bones toward the ceiling as you inhale. 

Downward Dog

Benefits

This exercise helps in: 

  • digestion
  • headache relief
  • strengthening your arms and legs
  • relieving menstrual cramps
  • stretching your spine, hamstrings, calves, and feet arches 

Steps

  1. Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands positioned under your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips.
  2. Tuck your toes in and move your hands forward, about a palm’s length in front of your shoulders.
  3. Lift your hips as you straighten your legs and draw your heels toward the floor while keeping your hands and toes planted.
  4. Bring your chest toward your thighs and your head down between your arms. Maintain a neutral pelvis by lengthening up through your tailbone and keeping your thighs rotated slightly internally.
  5. Look between your toes or at your navel. Hold this position for at least 5 to 10 breaths.

Standing Forward Bend

Benefits

  • aids in digestion
  • stretches your hips, hamstrings, and spine
  • improves the strength of your knees and thighs
  • helps reduce stress 

Steps

  1. Walk forward from a plank position so that your feet are in between your hands.
  2. Adjust your weight to your heels and raise your tailbone towards the ceiling.
  3. Exhale as you fold forward right after inhaling to lengthen your spine. Notice how you will feel lighter as you “let everything go.”
  4. Hold on to your opposite elbows and hang firmly. You may also sway back and forth. If you’re dealing with lower back pain, make sure to take extra precautions.

Wide-Legged Forward Bend

Benefits

  • calms your mind and body
  • helps keep your spine upright
  • stretches your outer and inner hips
  • helps avoid tightening in your groin

Steps

  1. Step up to four feet apart in the middle of a mat with your hands placed on your hips.
  2. Exhale and hinge forward from your hips until your palms reach the floor.
  3. Keep your knees flexible. Move your hands back until they are parallel to your heels.
  4. Bring your chin to your chest and the crown of your head toward the floor. Bring your weight toward the balls of your feet.
  5. Hold this position for 5-10 breaths.

Boat Pose

Benefits

Post-Thanksgiving stretches also aid in better digestion and help strengthen your back, stomach, and hip flexors. 

Steps

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees out in front of you.
  2. Lift your feet off the floor until they’re parallel to your knees, so your shins are also parallel to the floor.
  3. Find your center, then extend your arms in front with your palms facing in. 
  4. Slowly attempt to straighten your legs to a 45-degree angle.
  5. Squeeze your legs together, then elevate your torso as you drop your shoulders back.
  6. Hold the stretch for 1-5 breaths as you engage your abdominal muscles.

Knees to Chest 

Benefits

  • helps relieve lower back pain 
  • regulates metabolism  

Steps

  1. Lie down on the floor. Exhale, then begin to bend both knees into your chest. 
  2. Take hold of your shins as you hold your knees even tighter.
  3. While in this position, you can gently roll back and forth and hold for 1-5 breaths.

Reclining Twist

Benefits

  • aids in your digestion
  • improves intestinal flow
  • stretches your spine
  • helps you detoxify

Steps

  1. Move from your knees to your chest. Stretch your arms into a T position with your palms facing down.
  2. Drop both knees to the right and grab them with your right hand.
  3. Twist your upper back around to the left. Move your head in the same direction as you look at your fingertips.
  4. Hold for 1-5 breaths, then repeat the same steps to the opposite side.

Bonus Tips: 

  • Heavy eating and drinking can dehydrate your body, so it’s a must to tank up on enough water to avoid difficulties once you perform the post-Thanksgiving stretches.
  • Your digestion will be a bit erratic the morning after a heavy Thanksgiving meal, so drink plenty of fluids, use the restroom as your body dictates, and find a way to detox all that booze, turkey, and pumpkin pie.
  • Oatmeal is your go-to post-Thanksgiving breakfast. The soluble fiber in oats will aid in absorbing many toxins, while the insoluble fiber will help scrub your intestines. You’ll feel significantly better by the time you begin your workout.

Finally, make sure to allow at least 15-20 minutes so you can take advantage of the benefits these post-Thanksgiving stretches provide before going on with your day and bracing for the much-awaited Black Friday deals. 

I hope you had a bountiful Thanksgiving! 

 

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Sherwin is one of the resident bloggers of BodyTrends who writes mainly about diet, exercise, and other topics in the health and wellness niche. His journey as a wellbeing advocate started way back in secondary school when he got cut from the varsity team due to conditioning concerns. While he didn’t realize his dreams of becoming a professional athlete a decade later, he’s able to improve his fitness constantly by adhering to nutrition and other personal care programs. Through writing, he wants to inspire others to lead a healthier lifestyle as we usher in the post-pandemic era.

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