Workin’ On Yo Fitness

When you’re on the road it’s hard to keep up an exercise routine of any sort.  Simply put, your body is out of whack.  You probably aren’t eating the same way you do at home, alcohol consumption tends to increase when people are on vacation, and fatty foods become the norm.  What’s a person to do?  I have a few tips to help you out.

First, try to begin a routine of some sort before you leave that you can do while traveling.  For example, try running or walking.  This spring I was in Paris, and I started my days with an early morning run along the streets as the city was waking.  Dodging the deliverymen, and smelling the bread baking, as the sun was starting to rise, was a very different experience than what I had there before.  It was a perfect start to each morning.  Similarly, my mother is a walker, and on a recent trip to Florida, she began each day going for a long walk.  We were both able to keep up our exercise routines, even when we were away from home.

If walking or running isn’t enough for you, go to a park or other open area, and you can easily spread out and do more physically demanding workouts.  Sit ups, lunges, and push ups can be effective simply using your body weight as resistance.  Seek out parks with playgrounds.  You can use the equipment for even more exercises.

Second, be mindful of what you are putting in your body.  Being on vacation is not an excuse to drink like it’s the end of the world.  You must pace yourself.  Waking up with a hangover can ruin a day for you and everyone else that will have to suffer your hangover as well.  You will be grouchy, lazy, and nauseous, and none of these will make you pleasant to be around.  If you are drinking, after each drink have a glass of water, or better yet before you drink, have a glass of milk.  These will slow down/dilute the absorption of the alcohol into your blood stream.  Not only will you drink less, but you’ll save money too.  Also remember, if you are in another country, as soon as you open your mouth you will labeled a “visitor.”  If you get thick tongued, fall down drunk, the locals will not necessarily think less of you, but WILL think less of America and its citizens.  Prove the stereotypes wrong.

Third, and along these same lines, stay hydrated.  It’s important that you drink plenty of water.  Dehydration can result in muscle cramps, lethargy, diarrhea, headaches, sleepiness, and feelings of confusion.  None of these are traits you will want to exhibit when traveling to somewhere new, or traveling in general.

Forth, dress the part.  If you are going to be touring, which involves walking, DO NOT wear uncomfortable or even new shoes.  Make sure you have some miles in your shoes before breaking them out to go exploring.  Two situations come to mind where disaster struck.  In the first, a young woman on a tour I was leading of downtown Chicago, showed up in high heels.  I asked her to consider changing, and she refused.  By the time we began our return to the hotel that night, her feet were blistered, and she was carrying her shoes, walking along the sidewalk barefooted, her feet black and covered in who knows what germs.  In the second, in Rome, a woman unaccustomed to walking in heels, tripped on a cobblestone and had to get stitches in her forehead and knee.  It was a situation of practice makes perfect, and she clearly hadn’t practiced, and therefore had no business attempting a night out in those particular shoes.

Finally, the best way you keep yourself together while traveling is to get lots of rest.  Sometimes when people travel they tend to “burn the candle at both ends,” and doing this for a few nights in a row is okay, and maybe even expected, but doing it for the duration of your trip will wear you down.  A lack of sleep, tends to make people a bit crazy and really lazy.  If you do have late nights, allow yourself time to take a nap during the day.  However, be sure that you don’t nap for too long, because this can completely screw up your sleep cycle, and things become that much worse when you are in a different time zone.  When you first arrive, fight through the urge to sleep.  Instead, go to bed early and dodge the bullet of jet lag.

Twitter @tolandtravels

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