A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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Burn Off Those Turkey Day Calories

By Tom Long / Fiddlehead Contributing Editor

Thanksgiving dinner is the opening salvo of the holiday season and the beginning of the annual battle of the bulge. Fiddlehead is here to help.

First, some caloric reconnaissance. According to the Calorie Control Council, whose experts worry about such things, you may swallow as many as 3,000 calories at a typical Thanksgiving dinner.

If you graze through some appetizers and hoist a few drinks you can add another 1,500 for a grand total of 4,500. That is more than 2.25 times the average recommended daily calorie intake. Forty-five percent of those calories come from fat. That’s equal to three sticks of butter.

Bon appétit.

Those extra calories amount to about a pound of weight gain. Some experts estimate we might gain about five pounds of weight during the whole holiday season.

This calls for counter measures.

In order to burn 1,000 calories, a 185-pound person needs to jog at six miles per hour for 1.25 hours. A walker of the same weight must amble more than 3.5 hours at 3 mph to burn the same number of calories.

That’s enough about me. The Calorie Council has a tool on its website to help you calculate your own calorie consumption for various activities.

So, go for a walk, run around the block, whatever. You could join a group or raise some money. The Seacoast Rotary 5K Turkey Trot starts at 8:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day. It begins and ends on Peirce Island in Portsmouth.

Another opportunity for a pre-feast workout is the Fisher Cats Thanksgiving 5K that begins and ends at Delta Dental Stadium in Manchester. Starting time is 9 a.m.

The day after Thanksgiving you can begin to repair the damage at the Amherst Women’s Club’s 18th annual Trot off Your Turkey Fun Run. The one-mile trot begins at 9 a.m.; the 5K a half-hour later. There is same day registration on the town green.

If you’re not up for a run or walk on the wild side, how about a ramble under glass? The Heart & Soles Mall Walking program, co-sponsored by Lowell General Hospital and the Simon Pheasant Lane Mall, provides a one-mile route at the Nashua shopping center. The Rockingham Mall in Salem and the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester offer sheltered walking space as well.

And let’s not forget the season. Many communities are hosting holiday strolls, and nothing’s stopping you from following Santa in one of the many parades being held this season.

Sledding for an hour at a moderate rate will burn 476 calories and ice skating for the same duration – depending on your weight – can burn from 500 to 660 calories for an adult.

And did we mention caroling? Singing and walking – a double calorie burner. Dec. 20 is National Go Caroling Day. Check local listings to join a group or start your own – visit nursing homes and hospitals to spread some holiday cheer. But you may want to skip the hot chocolate and sugar cookies offered as thank-yous.

Need more tips?

Trimming the tree for an hour burns 170 calories.

Wrapping gifts for an hour: 96 calories.

Schlepping full shopping bags for 20 minutes: 52 calories.

Standing on line for one hour waiting to cash out that special toy: 94 calories.

Baking, roasting and prepping a holiday feast for an hour: 159 calories.

And probably the best news ever – standing up while hanging with your peeps for an hour (without noshing): 127 calories.