Thursday, June 25, 2009

Top 10 Healthy Summer Vacation Tips

Summer's here and it's easy to miss or avoid exercise while on 'vacation.'

Just remember though, that your metabolism NEVER quits, and all of those extra calories looking back at you will either be converted into heat through exercise, or land smack on your backside. If you have a lot of driving to do, your total calorie requirements for the day could go down by as much as 50%!

Here then are my top 10 tips for maintaining good health and fitness while planning and taking a vacation.
  1. Plan Active Vacations that include hiking, cycling or backpacking. Instead of yet another year inside an air conditioned museum, hike the canyons, paddle the boundary waters, or backpack a national park.
  2. Discuss Exercise with your traveling partner(s) before you hit the road. Which cities and parks will offer exercise opportunities. Plan for exercising at least half of the days you travel.
  3. See sights in new cities by cycling. You'll avoid a lot of auto traffic and get healthier in the process. Bike shops everywhere will rent bikes, and have tips and maps for safe riding in urban areas. Better yet, get a bike rack and take your own bike with you! Stow it in your room at night if you don't have a great rack locking system. Trek, Lance, and I Believe in Bikes.
  4. If you can't bike, then walk. And don't skip the stairs!
  5. Pack active and exercise attire accordingly. At the very least, pack a pair of running shoes! But it's also pretty easy to pack a small gym bag. You're a lot less likely to exercise if you don't have proper attire!
  6. Get a Healthy Breakfast Every day. Plan for a clean, high protein breakfast to start your day night. Hard boiled egg whites; skim milk; low/non-fat cottage cheese; yogurt. A good protein meal should carry you well into the afternoon.
  7. Avoid deep fat fried foods. This tip goes for always, but especially if you're traveling, you may be spending half of the calories you would otherwise spend on a normal day, and can NOT afford the extra, heart clogging calories while sedentary.
  8. Eat Clean while in the car. If you're on a road trip impose and enforce a Healthy Foods Only Rule: water, fruit, nuts, and jerky are reasonably healthy and relatively low calorie. My favorite convenience store on earth is Kwik Trip. They have cheap bananas, fresh fruit, sweet baby carrots, and great tasting skim milk.
  9. Exercise First. If your day includes a planned exercise event, do it first thing in the morning so that all of the uncertainty of travel won't get in the way of your workout later in the day. Plus, touring can be draining and dehydrating; you'll feel less motivated later in the day.
  10. Carry your bag or pull a cart if you golf. You'll spend almost 3 times as many calories as you would if you dump your butt into a rider.
Oh, and here's a bonus tip! (guess that's 11)
  1. Stretch. And then stretch some more. I am always shocked at how out of place I look when stretching at highway waysides. EVERYONE should be stretching there. Warm up a bit first with a brisk 5 minute walk, then stretch every muscle group you can find ... then stretch it again!


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