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No time for a Turkey Trot this year? No problem—here’s how to work up a pre-meal sweat without leaving the house.

Elizabeth Laseter
November 16, 2017

With guests arriving shortly and plenty of last-minute tasks to tackle, finding time to exercise on Thanksgiving sounds like a cruel joke. Early morning Turkey Trots can be an easy way to work up a pre-feast sweat, but not everyone has time to leave the house. While a day off from your daily exercise routine isn’t going to kill you, taking just 20 minutes to get your heart rate up can have huge benefits for your body—and your stress levels. By amping up your intensity, you can get a solid workout in that won't take away from your Turkey Day to-do list.

Below, find 5 easy Thanksgiving workouts you can do at home in 20 minutes or less. Best of all, no fancy equipment or machines are required—just you, a yoga mat, and a jump rope. Whether it’s a high-intensity circuit workout, cycling through a series of yoga poses, or joining in on an outdoor football game with family, a short bout of exercise before the chaos starts will give you the all-day energy you need to be the ultimate Thanksgiving host. Not to mention, you'll also feel a little less guilty about reaching for that extra slice of pumpkin pie later on. 

RELATED: Pretox, Don’t Detox this Holiday Season

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1. Core Exercises

Strengthening your core packs benefits far beyond just a flatter tummy. Even better, most routines shouldn’t take more than 10 to 15 minutes. Harvard Medical School reports that a stronger core can even help with simple everyday tasks such as lifting objects, reaching overhead, and standing for extended amounts of time. Building up your abdominal muscles can also improve your posture and alleviate chronic back pain. Do several sets of planks to fire up your core quickly, or cycle through our easy 10-Minute Ab Workout that targets each and every part of your core.

2. Circuit Training

The perfect high-intensity workout when time is short, circuit training combines strength and cardio with just a few easy exercises. Whether it's lunges, squats, or mountain climbers, proper technique is key to getting the biggest benefits. Try our Cardio Blast Circuit Workout, which works your body from head to toe and takes only 20 minutes. You can also incorporate light dumbbells for an added challenge. Find an open space in your backyard or garage (or even your own bedroom if it’s large enough), power up your favorite workout jam, and get moving.

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3. Vinyasa Yoga

A yoga flow session is a simple and highly-effective way to prep your body and mind for a long day ahead. Vinyasa yoga, which cycles through a series of poses without rest, is time-efficient and rigorous enough to work up a sweat. All you need is a yoga mat and a quiet spot—you can practice pretty much anywhere in your home. Find instructional videos online or try our Quick Yoga Flow Workout for an easy routine you can do in under 20 minutes.

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4. Jump Rope

Jumping rope may evoke memories of elementary school recess, but it’s actually a high-intensity cardio exercise that burns impressive amounts of calories in a relatively short time. Jumping rope improves your coordination, works your core, and jumpstarts your focus so you’ll feel energized afterwards. Plus, it’s just plain fun. To ensure the least impact on your joints, set yourself up on a yoga or exercise mat and get started with this 5-minute Fat-Burning, Endurance-Boosting Jump Rope Circuit.

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5. Head Outside

If you’re looking for a less structured workout, grab the family and step into your backyard. While we love a home filled with the savory aroma of turkey, there’s nothing more invigorating than crisp, fresh air. Toss a football, shoot hoops, kick a soccer ball, or throw a frisbee with family for 20 minutes to wake up your muscles and get your heart rate up. Test your competitive edge by playing a game—try these fun Thanksgiving games that your kids will love too.