You have worked hard all year, saving money and building up your vacation days at work. You are looking forward to the epic vacation you have planned, and cannot wait until you get to the beach, the cabin, the mountains – wherever your dream place is. But are you healthy enough for your next adventure?
As you reflect on the sacrifices you have made to go on this great vacation, you realize you gave up going to the gym, or any exercise at all. You have replaced healthy foods with junk in the vending machines as you have put in hour after house on the job. The result is you have gained some pounds and lost some endurance. You are not ready to ski, be on the beach, hike, or even endure traveling in your current state of health.
You now have to decide if you want to spend your vacation money on clothes that fit, or if you would rather take the time you have before vacation and work on getting in shape by shedding some weight and building your strength and endurance. Unless you are leaving tomorrow, you can take whatever time you have and get in shape for your vacation.
Fitness Assessment: Be honest about where you are now in terms of your health, and what your goals are on your vacation. If you have been sedentary for the last ten months, and your trip is in ten weeks, you can easily achieve a level of shape to make the trip great. If the trip is in one week, you may have to adjust your goals to include a lot of rest on your vacation, so you do not get overly tired or injured.
To eat or not to eat?
No doubt you look forward to eating exotic foods on vacation, especially after starting your trip off with airplane cuisine. Unfortunately, it is easy for your digestive system to react to huge dietary changes in ways that inhibit your full enjoyment of your vacation.
- If you start making healthy food choices today, and get your body’s digestive system working at peak efficiency, you will likely make better choices while you are traveling. It does not mean you have to avoid the local delicacy or the French pastries, but it will set you up to offset your culinary excursions with healthy choices. Healthier eating will give you energy for exercise, and may help you lose weight.
- With those food changes, make sure you get lots and lots of water. Eight cups a day minimum keep your system and brain hydrated, and flush toxins that slow you down.
- Start exercising today. One exercise that can do wonders in a short time is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). A good HIIT program will mix cardio bursts with exercises that build muscle, like planking and sit-ups. There are apps that start you with as little as five minutes a day. You will be amazed at how quickly your sedentary bones will respond.
- If you have more than a couple weeks, you can do a more formal cardio and strength-building routine, but aim for at least five days a week to get the most benefit.
- As you head in to this exercise routine, remember to protect your body. Products claiming to support the lower lumber can provide back support; offering relief and aiding muscle recovery.
- You should also start a stretching program. Travel can be really tough on joints and muscles, so incorporating simple stretches into your routine can improve your flexibility and stamina.
- Once you are on vacation, be sure to sustain your efforts. If your trip includes physical activities, you do not need to worry. But if you are planning extensive hanging on the beach, be sure to HIIT it for five minutes every day.
- One of the biggest factors influencing whether you succeed in improving your health is motivation. When you have something to look forward to, you are more likely to stick to your plan. Having mini-goals along the way will keep renewing your commitment to get in shape and be healthy.
- Post photos of your vacation spot in a place you will see them several times a day. Set realistic goals that are so easy to achieve you will not be tempted to skip them. Plan your vacation activities to distract you from bad habits.
Your vacation is the reward for the hard work you do year round. Make it even better by being in the best shape you can. Start today, and you will be thrilled with the results. Happy Traveling!