Don’t end up Black & Blue this Black Friday

thanksgiving_dinner2Congratulations!  You survived another Thanksgiving.  Hopefully the only thing that ended up being stuffed this year was your turkey.

However, the holiday hazards aren’t over yet.  Experts warn that the stress that accompanies Black Friday shopping can add costs, far greater than those we ring up at the mall.

While retail stores are raking in the money, shoppers are probably having a more negative experience. Although we all love a Black Friday deal, “it is more like Red Friday for the consumer, as the shopper goes into debt to pay for purchases,” says Nancy Barton, professor in the School of Physical Education and Tourism Management at Indiana University-Purdue University.

Besides overspending, four people have died and dozens of injuries have occurred in the Black Friday shopping frenzy in the past four years.

black-friday-shopping-fightWho can forget the images of the trampled Walmart worker in Long Island; the collapsed man bypassed by shoppers at a West Virginia Target and a shooting at a Toys R Us over an item brawl.

Clearly, both consumers and stores are clearly unprepared for the post-Thanksgiving stress and excitement.

Some have argued that we are wired for desire as a result of our dopamine reward pathways.” Barton adds, “When we are overstimulated by a novel experience or unlimited choices on Black Friday, a craving (for more) and insatiable desire is triggered.”

The key to combating these desires relies on the executive, thinking part of the brain. However, this control can be hindered if you are stressed out, tired and hungry, arguably the three main traits of an all-night Black Friday shopper.

How can you avoid these stressors?  How about? :

fit familyOpting out of Black Friday shopping. Think of another way to give a gift. How about buying an “experience” for your loved one(s)?  After all, there is plenty of evidence that it’s experiences, rather than things that make us happy. What about a family gym membership? Not only will you stay healthy, but the family that works out together, is more likely to stay together

Paying It Forward. Instead of spending, how about giving? Think about those who are less fortunate than you and do something for them. Visit an elderly neighbor living alone; volunteer at a local hospital / animal shelter, soup kitchen. Your smile and touch may be the greatest gift of all.

self reflectionTrying some self-reflection. The perfect antidote for ungrateful feelings is to practice gratefulness.  List three things that you are grateful for. Embody the feelings of gratefulness. Positive emotions and satisfaction with what you already have will start to unfold as you reflect on your list.

Whatever you end up doing today – please stay safe.

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Black Friday Fitness

After a day of over-indulging on family, food and football, now it’s time to turn your thoughts to Holiday shopping. But before heading out to join the Black Friday frenzy, SRxA’s Word on Health is here to make sure you’re prepared.

First, you need to recognize that Black Friday shopping is a sport and a dangerous sport at that!  You need to prepare with the thoroughness of an Olympic athlete to outperform your competition.

And while it might be too late to get in shape for the 2012 holiday shopping season, it’s never too early to begin next year’s preparations!

The workout plan below will help you get ready to take on both the stores and the other shoppers by improving your agility to grab the best deals.

Warm Up

  • 5-minutes on the treadmill or elliptical will help warm up your muscles in preparation for the door-opening and mad stampede that follows

Workout

  • 25  x Jumping Jacks – will help to reach those must-have items on the top shelves
  • 2  x Agility Ladder runs – be ready to make sharp turns while maintaining speed and control to help you avoid crowds and crush injuries
  • 10 x Box Jumps – to develop lower body power and elevate your heart rate and prepare you for both the physical exertion and psychological stress of a long day of shopping
  • 25 yard Bear Crawls – to help strengthen your back and core in preparation for carrying home all those bargains
  • 5 x Suicide Runs –  to build up your endurance and agility
  • 25 x Walking Lunges – to tone up your glutes, hamstrings and quads, so you look good while you shop
  • 45 x Pick Pockets. Help yourself to evade pick-pockets through these abdominal twists and turns
  • 15 Push-ups. Work out all the muscles in your upper body and build optimal strength in your forearms, wrists, upper arms, shoulders and chest. All important for pushing carts and maximizing parcel carrying power.
  • 10 Dumbbell Deadlifts – work your back, butt, hips and legs, ready for taking steps three at a time and gaining headway on those standing in line for the elevator

Cool Down: 

  • Stretching out, eyes closed, on the recliner or arms raises with a cold adult beverage

After all – if you make it out of the mall, with body and finances still relatively intact – you’ve earned it!