TRAVEL FITNESS By Cord Prettyman, MPT
“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again” – yes folks, it’s Willie Nelson time. Over the next few months, just about everybody will be driving or flying somewhere. Whether you’re headed to Yellowstone on a camping trip, on a jaunt across the country to visit family or seeking adventure in Outer Mongolia, it’s tough to maintain your fitness level, while on the road. The challenges of eating in unfamiliar restaurants, sleeping in uncomfortable beds, drinking too much alcohol and caffeine or just having your normal daily routine disrupted can wreak havoc on one’s fitness regimen.
Here are some suggestions gleaned from numerous websites and yours truly to help you maintain your level of fitness, while you gallivant about the country, continent or world. Keep in mind that your goal, while on vacation, should be to maintain your level of fitness – not try to make fitness gains.
First and foremost, Research your destination. Know the availability of hiking trails, pools, gyms and exercise opportunities prior to reaching your destination. Incorporate exercise into your planned outings.
Next, create your own moderately-intense 20 to 30-minute in-room workout. You can warm-up by marching in place, doing jumping jacks or some abdominal crunches. After warming-up, choose two lower-body exercises such as chair squats and stationary lunges and two upper-body exercises like push-ups and chair-dips that you can do right in your room or at an outdoor location. Do 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise. You want a travel routine that easy, automatic and short that takes 30 minutes max.
Get active in airports. Check your carry-on luggage in a locker and hike through the airport, while waiting for your flight. If you’re taking a car trip, plan to stop frequently and stretch and walk around.
Pack latex tubing and Thera-bands. Allow room in your suitcase for essential, light-weight workout gear, as well as comfortable walking or running shoes and a bathing suit if appropriate.
Log some pool time, when and where you can. Hotel pools are a great way to maintain your fitness level. Jogging in the shallow end or swimming laps will elevate your heart rate, burn calories and leave you refreshed.
Carry a jump rope. Jumping rope is an excellent, time-efficient means of maintaining your aerobic fitness and it can be done right in your hotel room.
And if you do absolutely no exercise, while on vacation, at least stretch.You can help maintain your muscle tone simply by stretching. Bob Anderson, this country’s flexibility guru, offers a one-page guide called “Travelers’ Stretches” which you can get at http://theshelterblog.com/shelter/_fitness/_stretching/travelers.html.
If appropriate, pack some healthy goodies. Bring raisins, fruit, vegetables, fig bars, whole wheat crackers, health bars and bottled water. If lugging healthy food to your destination is impractical, purchase some once you’ve arrived.
Take control of eating out.Restaurants arein the business of making food taste good, which is usually done with an abundance of fat and salt. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter if an entree can be prepared in a healthier manner or if sauces can be served on the side. You’ll find both the waiter and chef more receptive if you frequent restaurants at non-prime time and tip well.
Once you’ve returned home, ease back into your exercise routine. Start off by using lighter weights and decreasing the intensity and duration of your aerobic workout. Be careful not to do “too much, too soon.”
And finally, relax and enjoy your vacation. The American Heritage Dictionary defines vacation as “a period of time devoted to rest or relaxation.” Rejuvenate yourself.
Cord Prettyman is a certified Master Personal Trainer and owner of Absolute Workout Fitness and Post-Re-hab Studio in Woodland Park. He can be reached at 687-7437, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org through his website at www.cordprettyman.com.