Stay fit during vacation…Hmmm… You’re probably wondering “Why would anyone want to exercise on vacation?” Well, besides the numerous health benefits that staying fit offers, it allows you to see the areas you visit up close and personal. Studies show that the benefits of exercise include improved aerobic capacity (this, by the way, helps keep you young!), stress relief, and cancer prevention.
Staying fit during vacation can be fun! You start out thinking, “Okay, I am going to continue my training plan and workout every day!” But do you usually put it off because you are suffering from jet lag, have cramped legs from a tight plane/car ride, are busy sightseeing, or haven’t noticed any good trails?
Here’s what I have to say about that. No more excuses! There is always time to stay fit on vacation. I was able to and so can you! I get it. You are on vacation and want to relax and have fun. You can do both! So, have fun with your workouts. Make them a part of your area tour. Honestly, I think the best way to see what your vacation spot has to offer is to do it on foot.
First things first, how do I go about preventing/getting rid of the cramped and tight muscles that I get when going on long trips? For starters, no matter how long I am traveling or whether I am traveling by car, plane, or train, I make an effort to get up out of my seat and walk around AT LEAST every hour and a half. That way I can get the blood flowing. Staying stationary for too long can cause major adverse side effects, like blood clots. No one wants that!
Secondly, I make sure to always travel with my rolling massage ball, a golf ball, and my roller stick. These items are small enough to travel with and do not take up a lot of space. The first thing I do after a long ride is roll out my legs (quads, calves, and hamstrings) with my rolling stick. Then, I roll out my piriformis and glutes with the rolling ball. Lastly, I roll out my heals and arches with a golf ball. This helps loosen up the muscles and prepares them for whatever your fit vacation has to offer!
So now onto the actual physical activity. Let’s face it, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it. Think of an activity that you enjoy right now. What gives you those “feel good” endorphins? What activity helps you put your mind at ease and relax?” Next, ask yourself, “How much time do I have?”
This May, I took myself to Ireland. I have been longing to go there for years. The beautiful countryside and the friendly locals seemed so appealing. As I planned my trip, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to stay fit by running. My itinerary was jam packed with sightseeing tours. However, I was always able to use the “down time” in our schedule before our next activity.
While others took naps, I ventured out on my own to explore the verdant country side. I only had time to run between 3 and 5 miles every day, but that was enough for me to relax and stay fit. These short invigorating runs, helped me counteract the jet lag and I had more energy afterwards.
Each run was a new adventure. In Killarney, I ran down one street and found a horse race track right beneath the mountains. The track has been around for 80 years and hosts the iconic show, the Celtic Steps. It was dusk and I was able to see a beautiful sunset. The next day in Killarney, I discovered an old castle that was destroyed by Oliver Cromwell when he came to conquer Ireland.
In Galway, I found a path that ran along the beach. While on my run, a man was gliding through the air with a parasail on his back and a fan that propelled him. How cool is that? I want to try that next time I go to Ireland! The path then took me to a small little Island where there was a quaint lighthouse. I would not have been able to take in the beauty only locals typically see, had I not gone out for my daily runs.
Turning around, I could see the entire city of Galway. As I ran back to the hotel, I saw a man on the beach. As I got closer, I noticed the man was completely naked! Now that was a sight I will never be able to erase from my mind. I asked my tour guide, Gavin, if it was common for Irish men to swim naked. His reply, “Of course! A dip in the nip is quite common; especially for men.”
Other ways to Stay Fit
If you do not have the opportunity to run, walk, or bike outdoors on your vacation, there are other ways to stay fit. Take advantage of the gym or pool at the hotel. Go ahead and use the treadmill, weights, stationary bike, and lap lane. It’s there for a reason! Take the stairs every where you go (Bonus points for doing calve raises on the steps!). Before bed, do some yoga poses that will tone and stretch your muscles as well as help you unwind after a long day. (Stay tuned for the best Yoga poses to tone and relax before bed!)
As you can see, running, biking, or even walking around on vacation is an entirely different experience and well worth it! It is a chance to explore your new surroundings and discover things that you wouldn’t have seen in a tour group; with the numerous benefits that exercise provides. That is why I make it a goal to stay fit everywhere I go on vacation. My next post will be from the Adirondacks in beautiful upstate, New York. –Alayna