Photo by Santosh_b_s
Do you ever plan to exercise in some form or another while on vacation? Yeah, most of us do. Many of us have have every good intention to exercise, even if only a little bit, while on vacation with the family or visiting family. Generally, anytime we go out of town we plan to use the facilities or engage in some form of physical activity that does not include the consumption of food or opening of beer bottles. Visiting family adds another dimension to our overall health program because they will all cook and expect us to eat or they will be offended if we don't; our old friends want to get together, usually over a meal, and lets not forget the snacks in the car and the unexpected stops in places we would never visit otherwise.
We were visiting family last week and going to a college orientation and catching up with friends along the way-- we were driving...driving...driving up and down interstate 95, and dealing with heavy traffic at times, etc. My plan was to seize the moment and spend some quality time with ME involved in some form of physical activity either on the road or in the local fitness center.
I remember feeling pumped up the day before our drive North on I-95. I packed my gym clothes and shoes, water bottle, and my iPod too. I was prepared, no excuses. I looked up fitness centers near each of my locations, was glad that the College had a gym on site which we were allowed (encouraged) to use, and even mapped out where I could go for a walk or run if a fitness center was not available to me.
First night we arrived in Pennsylvania very late. The toddler was a little hyper and a little out of sorts. He fell asleep after 1:00 AM. By the time I fell asleep it was well after 2:00 AM. I was not about to get up early to go to the gym or walking or running or anything physical. But, that's OK. I went to the gym the day before and worked extra hard. Missing a day was really no big deal. (excuse #1)
The next evening we were visiting family in New Jersey, stayed up late playing Rock Band on the Wii, got up at 6:00 AM to begin 2 days of college orientation for the Musician in the family who is attending Westminster Choir College in the fall. We were shuffled from one room to the next, across campus and back, each time providing a mini buffet of snacks and drinks not necessarily fit for the sedentary lifestyle we were following these two days. I know, I didn't have to eat but hey it was free and my excuse was either "the last thing I ate was bad for me so I'll eat this because it's good" OR "I can afford to eat this because the last thing I ate was pretty healthy" (excuses #2 & 3)-- we can be so good at making excuses sometimes.
Needless to say, we were kept up late by presentations, chatty parents and the accommodations, well they were less than pleasant...those rooms were hot! So once again, waking up early was not going to happen...UGH. Now on day three and heading into another day of orientations I was really beginning to feel like I was dragging, bloated, and lethargic. I figured I was just tired from lack of sleep and being fed so much information in such a short period of time. Besides, we were walking around a lot, doesn't that count? (excuse #4) Not really.
Back in Pennsylvania, day four, I was really feeling fatigued and did not have the energy to even attempt a trip to the gym. So I packed up the kids and we headed to the King of Prussia Mall Plaza and Court. This is a really big mall, there was a lot of walking to be done here. We made a few stops in some kids stores and looked through some other "me" stores, but for the most part we walked all over the place. That did not help how I was feeling probably because we made a trip to the candy factory and the pizza shop but it was better than sitting at home AND eating. (excuse #5)
On the ride over to Delaware I really began to feel like CRAP!! I mean that, I just felt like I was retaining more water than the local dam, I was ready to throw in the towel and just forget exercising until I returned home. However, I knew there would be a price to pay for that AND most important, my clothes were starting to feel uncomfortable...UGH!! What the heck happened? I felt so out of control and so tired. It wasn't long before I realized I needed to get back in the game.
Moment of truth: I got up on day six at 6:30 am, got dressed, drank some orange juice and headed out the door with my iPod and my cell phone. I had no idea where I was going but Delaware is pretty flat so I knew that at the very least I could go on a brisk walk but my goal was to go for a run.
After a quick warm up and stretch I started jogging. Slowly I took my speed from a slow, almost walking, jog to a moderate pace--moderate for me, the non-runner. I realized after the first five minutes that my breathing wasn't labored, but my legs felt tight and heavy; the music was a huge help. I took note of the fact that I wold have to come back on foot so I mentally planned to run for about 15 minutes in one direction. I ran 20 minutes, stopped and forced out 30 push ups, then started running back. Upon my arrival I worked on abs with some Pilate moves, right on the wet, prickly lawn. Fifty-five minutes after getting out of bed and I felt fantastic.
I felt empowered, strong, full of life and ready to tackle the day's events.
I asked myself why I didn't just go, even after not getting enough sleep, in fact I think a short run or walk would have been good for me. All the excuses I came up with could have been easily overcome if I had given myself the opportunity. There really was no reason to skip out on a good dose of physical fitness during my vacation from the Gym. Physical fitness should not be left out of any schedule, it should not be something you have to work at, it should be a part of our lives as much as food and sleep.
We should consider physical fitness a vital part of our everyday lives, because it is.
My tips to those of you vacationing or preparing for a vacation in the near future:
1. Pack your workout gear just the same way you would pack your toiletries, make up, and clothes.
2. Look into the facilities that may already be available to you. Most hotels have fitness centers on site, some better than others, however, you don't need much to get a good workout.
3. Using google maps you can search near your location for health centers, fitness centers, exercise, or gym. Use a combination of words to find them, then call and ask what they charge for a guest fee. It's a small price to pay, maybe 2 or 3 days during your vacation. Also, check with your current membership at your local gym. Many fitness centers allow members from other areas to use their facilities at no cost.
4. Go for free. Running, walking, push ups, sit ups, playing sand games costs nothing. Bike rentals in beach areas can be a ton of fun for the entire family as well.
5. Plan to exercise everyday. If no one wants to go along, that's OK. Bring your music or downloaded books and just get up a little bit earlier so that your activity doesn't interfere with the plans for the day.
6. Every little bit helps. Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean you ignore your nutrition. Continue to drink lots of water and eat as healthy as possible while rewarding yourself with the fun treats we all love to enjoy. Don't deprive yourself, Moderate yourself!
I hope everyone can learn a little something from my experience. I would love to hear yours too. Leave a comment with your "fit on vacation" attempt and how you worked through to make a change during or after your trip. Thanks everyone for visiting.