Joli Guenther, MSSW, NASM-CPT
Summer is here. Long days and great weather make being active easy. Your fitness program is also paying off. After finding your rhythm, you feel stronger, more energetic and maybe even a few pounds lighter. Next challenge? Family vacation. With travel, new surroundings, and no equipment, how can you possibly stick with your fitness program? Don't send it packing yet. With a little planning, you'll come home rested and healthy.
Vacation allows us to rethink our daily lives. Do the same for your fitness program. Decide what you really need from your exercise program and use vacation to make those changes. Consider the following scenarios and choose one that fits.
Make it a working (out) vacation.
Coffee, treadmill, shower, work,sound familiar? You're in an exercise rut. You're staying fit, but aren't seeing changes. Your motivation is dropping because workouts aren't rewarding. Build your vacation around a recreational activity. Good choices include cycling, run/walk events, golf or hiking. Before leaving, create a program to train for your vacation. With fitness as the structure of your vacation, you'll reap the rewards just by showing up!
Get away to get recommitted.
Family, work and life make regular exercise tough. Vacation is an opportunity to step outside our regular patterns and build new habits. Build your exercise program on vacation and you'll come home with new energy to complete it. For success, avoid an overscheduled vacation. Take time each morning to complete your workout and enjoy the results. Your work needs to be done ahead of time.
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Ken Grall offers this advice. "While traveling, take time for a few minutes of extra planning. If staying in a hotel, ask about workout facilities. Hotels understand the importance of fitness to travelers and may offer anything from a couple of treadmills to full health club access."
If you're staying with friends or family, look for guest options at local health clubs or carry your gym with you by using resistance tubing, available at most sporting goods stores. Another option? "Use your own bodyweight and a little imagination. Push-ups, bodyweight squats, lunges, crunches, and balance can easily be done with bodyweight and a little space," offers Grall.
Rest, relaxation, recovery.
Need a break? Recent 5K a personal best? Got great results from recent interval training? Use your vacation for some well-deserved fun. Planned periods of recovery are important to avoid over training. While recovering, fun activities keep your mind and body busy, without the strain and fatigue of a high intensity program. Consider family lawn games such as badminton, bocce or croquet. Group activities such as tennis or golf are also fun options. Give that yoga or pilates DVD a try. Or join your family for a romp at the beach! The only requirements are to feel good and have fun!
Planning and creativity ensure your vacation contributes to your fitness goals. Vacation can meet the needs of you, your family and your schedules. With so many options and possibilities, you'll be so busy enjoying yourself that you won't realize you are getting fitter! Now that sounds like a vacation!