Jun 172010

While vacationing in Ohio, it seemed perfect to stop what I was doing (drinking tea) and write about staying active while traveling. Its almost 9 a.m. here and I am happy to say I have already walked 20 minutes and been swimming for an hour. The Worthington High School Pool is just minutes from the house, so I slipped on my tennis shoes before dawn and walked there to join the high school swim team for practice. Afterwards, I walked back home, had a bowl of oatmeal and now here I am writing this article.

Clients often tell me its difficult to stay active on vacation. I say its a piece of cake. When you maintain your exercise routine, you adjust quicker to time changes, feel happier and more energetic, and good about yourself for staying on track. I make it a habit to always plan what I will do to stay in shape before the trip even happens.

Before travelling to Ohio, I emailed the Worthington Swim Club coach and asked him if he would mind if a Masters swimmer joined his group for practices. When he gave me an affirmative answer and the schedule, I was all set. All I had to do was have the gumption to get up at 6 a.m. every morning, the equivalent of 3 a.m. in Tucson. So far so good.

I also get a lot of residual exercise spending time with my family. One morning I took a 15 minute jog with my daughter. Yesterday, we played Marco Polo in the pool and took an hour-long evening walk along the Olentangy River. I even spent an hour or so pulling thistles out of my mom’s garden. Ouch! My days have been activity-filled. It is a great feeling to know that when I go home to Arizona, I will be in even better shape than when I left.

Another strategy I use for staying active on trips is to plan the trip around a competitive event. I recently wrote an article on this topic (featuring other people like myself who thrive off of this type of travel), which will appear later this year in American Fitness.

I often compete in the La Jolla Roughwater swim and the La Jolla Shores 5K so I can enjoy La Jolla and also get out there and race people. Later this summer I will compete in the U.S. Masters Swimming Long Course National Championships in Puerto Rico. After a few days of pool swimming races in Puerto Rico, I will top off the week with a one mile open water swim and then fly to Granada where from our hotel’s beach, you can swim for miles and still stand on the bottom! I know already I will be swimming every single day of vacation.

If you’re a fitness instructor like me, you can take a trip and teach classes at the same time (check out fitbodiesinc.com). Last summer I took my family to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun and paid very little because of the two hours I spent teaching classes daily. There are places all over the Caribbean where you can have a fabulous time on an active vacation.

So if you’re making a list of excuses of why you can’t keep moving, why don’t you pitch that in the trash and write up an activity agenda. Here in Ohio, swimming will continue to be on the daily agenda as well as walking and the occasional jog. And who knows. Maybe the kids will be able to talk me into getting on the trampoline again for seat wars. I’m not 18 anymore. But I can pretend.

2 Responses to “Keeping Vacations Active”

  1. cheryl Palen says:

    Glad you found an acceptable pool in Ohio under 86 degrees and not full of water aerobic ladies (MY age) just walking in the water not getting their hair wet! 🙂
    Next time I am bringing my wetsuit and swimming in the lake near my parent’s house! 🙂

    Our vacations are also planned around events…we just got back from San Fran where we swim from Alcatraz every year. But this year is was cancelled due to heavy fog. We ended up just doing our own thing in Aquatic Park and then driving to Tahoe for some mtn. biking and hiking. I say vacations ARE all about being active. I was wiped out when I got home…needed a vacation from a vacation!

  2. Susan Dawson-Cook says:

    Cheryl,
    One of the reasons I try to find swim groups is because it is very difficult to make lap swimming times work for the faster swimmer. One time I went to the community center and had to wait more than 30 minutes for a lane because there were only 2 open during a water aerobics class and one was occupied by 3 bikini clad teenage girls who were swimming one length every 10 minutes. That was the last straw for me with lap swim…

    I hope not to get home wiped out because once I get there we are moving. That will be a lot of exercise in and of itself…

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