Friday, January 7, 2011

Keeping a Fitness Regime While on Winter Vacation

Winter is often travel time for many people.
I often get the question, “How should I exercise while on holidays”?

While there are no simple answers, the question remains a difficult one for most.
My recommendations differ from person to person depending on that client’s motivation, level of fitness and whether or not they really enjoy exercise.

You see, even though you’re on vacation your fitness is not. You need to workout in order to maintain your current level of fitness. Now, if you are a person who likes to exercise, you will probably make the effort to find a gym in the town or city your visiting and get your workouts done.

Now, if you’re like most people and find exercise boring or difficult, you probably won’t go out of your way to get it done especially on your holiday. Fortunately, there are some simple ways to get exercise in and not regress.

Simple body weight exercises such as push ups, sit ups or crunches as well as chair squats, split squats, lunges etc; are an excellent way to keep fit while away. All of these exercises can be done with absolutely no equipment right in your hotel room.  For a few dollars, you can also pick up some resistance tubes at any local exercise equipment store. With these exercise bands you can do a full body workout with resistance. Just toss them in your suite case and away you go.

Now, the goal while on holiday is to maintain your level of fitness and not regress. You need to maintain your level of strength, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness.

The most difficult aspect of fitness to maintain is the cardiovascular fitness. Cardio fitness is lost the quickest once you stop exercising. In order to maintain it you will need to do some sort of cardiovascular activity. This can be either a jog in the morning, a bike ride around town, or maybe swim some laps in the hotel pool. You can play some tag football in the park with the kids or a friendly game of soccer on the beach.

Always remember to limber up before playing any sports with some light stretches.
You can do a full body stretch before and after your activity and this will also help maintain flexibility.

Diet is equally important; you need to keep on top of this. We tend to over eat and drink on holidays. Each alcoholic beverage ingested is about 150 – 200 calories and that equates to 30 minutes on the treadmill. So I recommend that if you are going to drink, focus on the diet and watch what you eat.  Being on holiday’s is not a cart blanche to eat anything at anytime. Eat well; get plenty of fruits and vegetables, they’re often easy to find in tropical places.
Also, fish and chicken are fairly prevalent in most holiday locations. Pay attention to how it’s prepared and go with grilled and broiled instead of fried. Easy on the deserts and be careful of calorie laden baked goods.

You worked very hard to get fit; don’t go ruining it in a week, stay focused!

Let’s review the basics.

1. Get some form of resistance exercise in. Body weight exercise or use a resistance aid of some sort.
2. Get some form of cardiovascular exercise. Make it fun be it a competitive game of tennis or a fun game of tag football or a simple jog.
3. Stretch, before and after any activity.
4. Watch your intake of alcohol and be aware of your diet.

Follow these simple rules while on holiday and you will maintain your level of fitness and not end up having to start from scratch when you get back.

Until next time, stay fit and be strong.
Peter J. Morel CFC, CPT, CAFS
Managing Partner
TopShape Inc.