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After the feast, take a walk

By Stacy Downs

Knight Ridder Newspapers

Beat that post-feast sluggishness with a leisurely stroll around the block. The possibilities are endless.

"A family walk is a lot safer than the family football game that often takes place on Thanksgiving Day," says Jan Schmidt, exercise physiologist and director of Kirmayer Fitness Center at University of Kansas Medical Center. "The football is strenuous and people suffer from pulled muscles at the very least."

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Here's what Schmidt says to keep in mind before taking a walk:

Wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to give people enough time to start digesting food. Stretch a little before walking.

Keep young children and older adults in mind by avoiding a route with hills. They won't get fatigued on a short level walking surface.

Wear the right gear. Wear comfortable shoes. If it's really cold, wear gloves and a hat -- about 30 percent of your body heat is lost through your head. Layer clothing. But don't overbundle. The temperature will feel 20 degrees warmer five to seven minutes into walking.

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