Traveling offers a wide range of benefits, but as we’re all creatures of habit, a change of routine usually means that squeezing a workout in goes to the wayside. Going on vacation shouldn’t mean that all activity stops and that you can consume everything in sight. If you let your good habits go, by the time you return home you’ll most likely feel worse off than you did before you left.
Commit to exercising: no excuses
Pencil in physical activity into your itinerary; ideally 60 minutes each day, but remember that it can be broken up into 10 or 15 minute periods at a time if necessary. Bring everything you need to work out, including your favorite exercise clothes.
Fit in physical activity wherever and whenever you can
There is really no excuse not to get at least some exercise on vacation. Go for a hike, swim in a hotel pool or take advantage of the steep staircases you’ll find in just about every city around the world. If you have a smartphone, download workout apps that can be performed in your hotel room. Doing push-ups, squats, lunges and planks require no equipment at all.
You can also make exercise part of the fun by joining a kayak tour or another type of excursion that will get you moving - often without even thinking about it!
Work out early and plan ahead
Wake up an hour earlier than you normally would so you don’t have to worry about missing out on fun activities during the day. If you’re a runner or a walker, plan your route ahead of time and you might be able to see the city or the countryside at its best while you get your exercise in at the same time. MapMyRun.com is a great site that can help you plan the best routes while on your trip.
Plan something that will motivate you to want to get out and move!
Before I go anywhere, I do a little research online to find out the best running routes in a city, and where the good hikes are in more rural areas. One of my favorite recent treks was a short but very steep hike at Fishing Point in St. Anthony, Newfoundland - 476 steps to the top and definitely worth the climb.
I just ran across this article I wrote a while back, and it reminded me of how many people I've heard that say they don't have the time or money to travel. While sometimes that is the case, most of the time, when there is a will there is a way (and these days there are so many options for traveling on the cheap!)- and, you shouldn't feel guilty about it, because travel is good for you! It might even help you live longer.
Why Travel May be the Best Prescription for Health
When most people think about travel, they don’t think of it as something that’s necessarily a healthy thing to do, but the truth is, it may be the best prescription for better health. In fact, according to the Global Coalition on Aging, travel can even help people to live longer.
The Global Commission on Aging, the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, and the U.S. Travel Association conducted a poll that revealed travel, especially for retirees, can help prevent dementia and Alzheimer's disease. It also showed that women who vacationed every six years or less had a significantly higher risk for developing a heart attack as compared with women who went on vacation at least twice a year. Men who didn’t take a vacation at least once a year were found to have a 20 percent higher risk of an earlier death and approximately a 30 percent greater risk of dying from heart disease.
The benefits of travel are practically immediate, with nine out of ten respondents experiencing a significant reduction in stress levels within just a day or two of being on vacation. Nearly 90 percent of those who travel are also said to generally have a more positive outlook on life.
Numerous surveys have found that workers who take time off to travel are more productive, tend to have higher morale and are much less likely to suffer from burnout. Couples who travel together say they have more sex while on vacation, and sex is known to be a great stress reducer with a number of health benefits.
Chronic stress is hard on your health. Too much can lead to all sorts of illness and disease with its negative impact on your immune system. It’s hard to be stressed while having fun on vacation, whether you’re snorkeling through crystal clear warm waters or taking in a Broadway show.
Most people get more exercise on vacation too. Even if the trip isn’t based around heart-pumping activities like skiing, hiking or surfing, you’ll probably walk more while exploring sights. You’re also more likely to be outside, whether walking between destinations, enjoying a beautiful beach, mountain scenery or even visiting a zoo. Being outdoors, breathing fresh air and soaking up the sun offers much-needed vitamin D, too.
Traveling can even help create healthier relationships. It can bring a couple together by building lifelong memories – surveys have found nearly three-quarters of adults credit travel for helping to improve their interpersonal relationships.
By experiencing different cultures, foods, and even adventures, travel also offers countless opportunities to experience and learn something new. Trying local foods may even provide different nutrients than we’re used to which adds yet another aspect of health to traveling. Any new experience is said to increase happiness levels, and when traveling, most encounters are new. You don’t have to look for ways to reinvent your day and break away from the mundane, it naturally happens.
If you haven't traveled in a while - this gives you just another excuse to start planning and get packing!
It may be a cliche, but the older you get, the faster the years fly by, and this one is already moving like lightning! It's hard to believe I started this blog nearly five years ago - and so much has changed since.
Now focusing mainly on travel and alternative health, I find myself so busy with client work, traveling, etc., that there is little time left to keep this site updated. I realized this afternoon, that I've had so much that I could be sharing so I'm going to give this a much better effort.
The first step is a change in domain name to TravelinKaren. Yes, my first name is actually Karen, K.C. are my initials as well as a nickname, so I answer to both.
In the last six months, I've been to both Iceland and to Newfoundland, two of my favorite new destinations. Although I haven't written about them here, I have a number of articles that might be of interest if you've been thinking about traveling to either place - and I highly recommend you do!
16 Outdoor Things Things to Do in Iceland
15 Reasons You Should Visit Iceland in the Winter
19 Must Experience Sights and Attractions in Newfoundland
And, if you're going anywhere that requires traveling through more than a few time zones, this might help you a bit too:
How to Get Rid of Jet Lag and Enjoy Your Trip
I'll be heading out on my annual trip to Ireland in just a couple of weeks, followed by a short stint in Italy.
Afterward, I'll be updating my Ireland guide book, Best Travel Guide for First Time Visitors to Ireland, accordingly, though I don't except as many changes as the latest edition which can be found here.
In the meantime, here are some pictures from my Newfoundland and Iceland trips to enjoy!