By Erica Moe | Get Fit
Do you ever come home and need a vacation from your vacation? All those great tours and extra excursions can be taxing on the body if you aren’t prepared. Get creative by adding physical activity to your time away, and be intentional about preparing for it. Simulate in the gym, and then explore the great outdoors!
If you are planning on hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or making your way up a volcano in Hawaii, get acquainted with the stair climber, a machine with rotating stairs that will get your heart and lungs pumping. Start with 20 minutes and increase time each week. Try a local hike that’s about three miles, like Cowles Mountain, to get your feet wet.
Heading to New York City? You could find yourself walking several miles per day. Start out at home with the treadmill for 20 minutes. Increase distance 10 percent each week, working up to a 45-minute continuous walk. If the Bay Area is your destination, prep for hills! Incline trainers simulate walking uphill and can give you 30-percent grade. Traditional treadmills max out at 15 percent. Increase the incline for three to five minutes, walk flat for three to five minutes, and repeat three to five times.
Go tropical with snorkeling, riding a Jet Ski or tubing. You could be in the water for hours, so building endurance is a must. Start with laps in the pool. Take breaks as needed. If you are afraid of the water, consider taking swim lessons — it’s never too late to learn. Already a fish? Consider joining a Masters swim team for more challenging workouts, tips and camaraderie. Check out 100swimmingworkouts.com for a great beginner workout.
Before that bike-riding tour of European castles, take an indoor cycling class to get a feel for the power your legs will need to produce. Spend time in the saddle to acclimate to the seat. Be patient. It takes a little time, but is worth it. Be sure to get out on the road at least once per week to experience the real terrain and how to maneuver through shifting gears and riding with a group.
Wear a weighted vest to prepare your body for carrying all your supplies on that backpacking trip in the mountains. Not only will you burn more calories during your day or workout, but you will be more prepared to carry your pack for the long haul.
River rafting or kayaking
If you will use a paddle, hop on the rower while you’re still on dry land. Start with five to 10 minutes, and increase time weekly. In addition, you will want to increase focus on stretching and strengthening your upper body. Be sure to stretch your chest by standing in a doorway with your hands on the frame, stepping forward and holding 15 to 30 seconds. Strengthen the back with a seated or bent-over row. Try three sets of 10.
— Erica Moe, M.S., is an ACSM-certified exercise physiologist who writes on behalf of the Mission Valley YMCA where she is fitness director.