Travel Health (cont.)

Travel and Fitness

The most important thing to remember about fitness on the road, experts say, is to plan ahead. Normally, a good fitness program requires a routine, and a trip is a break in the routine. That means you need to actively look for ways to exercise, says exercise expert Todd Whitthorne. Your options on the road will probably be different than they are at home, but that can be good. Variety is a big part of enjoying exercise.

So when planning a trip, think about the activities that you like to do or would like to try for the first time. The Internet is a wonderful resource for travel, whether for a business trip or an unusual vacation -- walking tours, bicycle tours, etc. Find out:

  • If the hotel or location where you'll be staying has a fitness center.
  • If there are personal trainers available; if that's a requirement.
  • If there are safe and secure parks around the hotel.
  • What destinations are available that would be "activity" friendly.

Bring any equipment you think you might need -- shoes, workout clothes, exercise bands, etc. Another helpful tool is a pedometer, a device that clips to your belt and measures the total steps you take in a day. Most of us average 4,000-6,000 steps a day, but your goal should be 10,000-12,000, Whitthorne says. Many people on vacation will average 20,000 to 25,000 steps a day. A pedometer will give you a good indication of how much activity you're getting.

Consider your destination, too. Are you going to a large city, or will you be surrounded by large expanses of the great outdoors? Will it be a colder climate, or is it hot and humid? If you're not acclimated, temperature and humidity can get to you quickly. A few things to think about:

  • Exercising early in the morning will usually help in a hotter climate.
  • Dressing properly (layers are key) is essential in a colder climate.
  • Regardless of the temperature, make sure to drink water before, during, and after you exercise.
  • Back off a little on the intensity if you're in a very hot or humid environment. The body usually takes at least a week to acclimate to elevated temperature and humidity. So rather than walking, say, 2 miles in 30 minutes, consider 2 miles in 40 minutes.
  • Consider indoor options. Will your hotel have a gym? Does your athletic club membership allow you to use facilities in other towns?
  • Consider an alternative to your usual exercise. For example, swimming is great for both strength and cardiovascular conditioning, and many hotels have pools.


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