Shop, But Don’t Drop!

Shop, But Don’t Drop!

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On your mark, get set, shop!

Everyone knows that Thanksgiving marks the traditional beginning of the Christmas shopping season. How can you train and be prepared to take on the early morning shoppers at 5:30 a.m. and not run out of stamina until the end of the day? Is a coffee or a Diet Coke your answer, or is it plain old exercise?

This year marks the 98th Annual Thanksgiving Day Race in Cincinnati. I am always surprised how many of us locals don’t know that the race even exists. For some it is a family tradition, for others it is a friendly competition with their finishing time for last year, and for others it is the beginning of the training season for the annual spring Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Whatever the reason, those who run it are die hard. It doesn’t matter if it is raining, snowing, sleeting or if the runners are lucky and it is sunny, the race is packed and spectators are cheering everyone to the finish line.

Here is a fun fact that many of the racers may not even realize: running the race on Thanksgiving will give you an advantage over the shoppers who sat around and at all day. Why? It is very simple, by running the race you are releasing endorphins, or "happy chemicals," into your system, which will allow you to eat less on race day and be better prepared for the early morning shopping throughout the season. Those who run the Thanksgiving Day race also have a more conditioned cardiovascular system, which in turn will allows them to shop longer without becoming fatigued.

If you are not a runner or a fitness person at all, look out for those with the really cool long sleeve Thanksgiving Day race shirts that boast that the person wearing it ran the race the day before. This person will be fully prepared to race you to the last Wii on the shelf, box you out for the limited edition toy or muscle in front of you for the last iPod shuffle listed for $50.

In all seriousness, though, try to exercise over the holidays, it will reduce stress, increase stamina, decrease the desire to eat everything in sight and it just may keep you in the jeans you were wearing before the holidays started. Exercise is also a great way to get your friends together to workout and get your pre-holiday complaints about your in-laws or future in-laws out before heading to their house. Have a great holiday season and start setting fitness goals now, instead of waiting for the New Year.

Photo: Stock