Fitness tips you should think about BEFORE traveling

When we go on vacation or travel for business, our fitness routine has a tendency to go on vacation as well.  It is important to keep a fitness routine while we are traveling (and even when we are not traveling).  Here are some tips that may help you hit your travel location prepared to keep yourself fit.

Pretravel preparation tips

Plan in advance

Know what you want to do for exercise (run, walk, bike, swim, weight train). Starting something new when your traveling should be done cautiously. If you are planning a bike tour, walking tour, canoeing trip, or something that you have not previous done, it’s a good idea to do that activity prior to the trip and get use to your shoes, clothes, and any other gear for the activity. Nothing is worse than blisters or chafing.

Make your list and have it on your smartphone or however you keep lists you can easily access and double-check it BEFORE you leave, so you don’t forget. I like using the App COZI (we also use it for shopping and other to do’s).

Gather your equipment before you leave

These are less than $10 on Amazon – look for resistance bands

Choose your equipment (running shoes and socks, swimsuit, exercise bands, etc.) and don’t forget a hat and sunscreen if you are going to be out in the sun. Keep what you pack light.  I like a bag of bands that easily fit in my suitcase and take up minimal room. Have it handy with the other items that you are packing so you don’t forget it.

Traveling tip

Plan on wearing a pair of walking or running shoes and comfortable clothes when you travel. Moving, while you travel, will help prevent aches and pains and decrease your risk of blood clots that can occur from prolonged sitting. Keep it moving whenever you can AND stay hydrated. It’s a pain to find a restroom while you are traveling, but it’s even worse if you arrive at your destination dehydrated. Many older people take diuretics on a regular basis for blood pressure, so plan in advance when you are going to take your pills and where you will find a restroom. Just think it out and you may need to talk with your healthcare provider about options.

How to keep moving if you have a long flight

Oh those small seats

Economy airplane seats have approximately 17 or 18 inches of legroom and that doesn’t give much to move around. If you have a long flight, it is very important to keep your legs and feet moving to avoid walking off the plane with stiff hips, knees and back. Here are a few exercises you can use if you find yourself in the sardine tin.

Back: Keeping your knees higher than your hips can relieve some of the back pressure you may experience during a flight. You can place your carry-on under your feet – this will keep your knees higher.

Knees, Calves, and Ankles: Lift your heels up so that only the balls of your feet are on the floor, then reverse the movement and lift your toes with the heels on the floor, continue this back and forth motion for about a minute every hour. Any movement of your legs and feet will help.  You can “spell the alphabet” or a soliloquy from Shakespeare with your feet, it will pass time. You can even make fun spelling games if you are traveling with children and it may get them into a good routine for when they are older and wedged in their seat.

Core Strengtheners: Sit up as tall and lift one foot three to six inches off the floor. Hold for five to 10 seconds, or longer. Repeat with the other foot for a total of 15 repetitions. If the person next to you looks at you funny ask them to join you – tell them you are the wellness consultant for the airline.

Destination arrival

Water: Don’t forget to drink water during your journey as well as when you get to your destination. We often forget to stay hydrated. Now that you have arrived, drink up! Airplanes are so dehydrating.

Diet: Try to stay as close to your regular diet as possible. It can be difficult as you tend to not eat at your usual time and your usual food.  Minimize your portions, sweets and alcohol. Those 5-10 pounds you come home with will get you depressed and be hard to take off.

Sleep:  We can never underestimate the power of sleep.  When we travel, jet leg does take a toll on our brain cells , organs and every major system of our body, according to Matthew Walker, PhD, author of Why We Sleep.  We will cover sleep more in detail in a later post.

Settling in at your destination

Start Your Day with, at a minimum a mini-workout. It will get you moving and help you feel energized for the remainder of the day. It can be some stretches, walk, or as much as a run, workout, swim, etc.  Just do something to start your day. This is where those exercise bands will come in handy.This will also help with jet lag, particularly if you can get out in the sun early in the day.

Woman at sunrise
Get that morning sun on your face! Your jet lag will thank you

Waiting in line or just waiting

Whether you are buying a ticket for a train, bus, or the theater, use your time efficiently to do a few exercises that others won’t notice. Do a few calf raises (stand on your tippy-toes) and then stand on your heels with your toes upward You can also do some single leg balance work. (just stand on one foot and then switch to the other foot). Rotate your ankles in a circle and then end with a few glute squeezes (you can do this while standing or sitting and really no one will notice).   Remember, suck in your tummy and stand up straight!  It will help your back and make you look much younger.

E.S.C.A.P.E.

Jay Williams, Ph.D. uses the anacronym E.S.C.A.P.E as a way to think about traveling.

Easy: Nobody wants to add more stress to traveling.

Scalable: Scale to your energy levels. You don’t have to run a marathon, but you should think about pushing yourself to an appropriate energy level.

Convenient: How can you make your workout convenient (is there a gym, running/walking/bike trail).

Adaptable: Hotel gyms or you ability to walk or run outside may not be feasible, so have a Plan B as a backup.

Portable: Pack travel-friendly workout gear and accessories. That’s why I like bands – EASY!

Post script

Sandi & Bill after our hike to the ruins

We just returned from a 2 week trip to Burgundy with 10 of our friends. I tried to post this while we were there, but the internet would not cooperate.

I tried to get out every morning for a walk or run in addition to a few workouts with the resistance bands. It was not so difficult getting up and spending 45 minutes to 1 hour out in an incredible environment. It was more than I could hope for and was very safe. Several mornings I went on my own and felt perfectly at ease with the cattle grazing and a few farmers out tending to their business. The best part was how it set the stage for the day with the sun on my face and fresh air, sheer joy. It also helped with my jet lag (a 9 hour time difference). It doesn’t get much better and I know that I was blessed having this opportunity and an incredible spouse and friends to share it with.

T60+ Adm

2 Comments

  1. LuAnn on September 4, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Thank you so much for these reminders and tips. I travel extensively and the reminders of posture/excersizes while in the airline seat are especially appreciated! I am sure this will help me not feel so many aches and pains after the flight(s).
    I love the beautiful picture of you two 🙂

    • T60+ Adm on September 4, 2019 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks Lu! May you be ache-free when you travel.

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