Vail Daily column: Travel and your exercise routine
Spring is upon us and travel season awaits you. The mud season is a great time to escape the Vail Valley and recharge for the summer season. Traveling presents a challenge to your health, though — the abundance of convenient foods and drinks can leave a disastrous number on the scale.
The challenge of not having access to healthy foods and minimal exercise opportunities compounds the problem. Sometimes this behavior carries beyond vacation and the use of fad diets to overcompensate creates problems. Vacations are for enjoyment, not for destructive or stressful health challenges. Thoughtful planning can keep you on track while allowing for an enjoyable experience. I encourage you to implement the following strategies.
Consider intermittent fasting
Our lovely airports await the opportunity to increase your waistline, rob your bank account and shipwreck your health. Besides, how much energy do you really expend on travel days? Traveling happens in the presence of sitting all day long. Diet controversies aside, weight gain happens because of a positive caloric balance. I don’t care what you eat. If you eat more calories than you expend, then you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter where the calories come from. However, the calorically expensive, carbohydrate-laden, fatty foods that infiltrate the airports are tubby bombs that will increase your waistline. The solution? Aim to skip all meals during the travel day. Or, eat a light breakfast before traveling and wait until you get to your destination to consume a reasonable meal.
Pack smart foods
If your primary dining option is eating out at restaurants, then pack foods that can replace meals. Protein powders, mixed nuts and jerky are my favorite options for quality calories that can replace meals. If you can make it to a grocery store, then stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables and water to provide even better options. Remember to always eat per your activity levels. If you know that you will be eating a heavy dinner and laying on the beach all day while drinking, then perhaps its best to skip a few meals.
Exercise every day
Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you should quit exercising altogether. Although you may not be able to stick to your routine, make sure you do something. This can simply be walking, a light jog, or a body weight workout in your room. If you’re staying at a hotel, then seek out the gym and sneak in 30 minutes of exercise. One of the best investments you make for exercise while traveling is a TRX or Jungle gym XT. These handy straps hang in a doorway allowing you to perform endless exercise variations such as the pull up, push up, and squat. Theses straps easily fit into a bag without hassle. If you’re driving to your destination, then invest in a kettlebell. The variety of kettlebell exercises are endless.
Ditch the car
If you plan to travel anywhere on your vacation within a reasonable distance, then plan on renting a bike or walking instead. You will save money on a rental car and increase your activity level while seeing landmarks you might otherwise miss. Although it seems trivial, consider that the average person burns 80-100 calories for every mile walked. Over time, that can add up. Simply put, do activities on your vacation that make you move.
Whether you’re traveling for days or weeks on your next vacation, I hope you thoroughly enjoy it and implement the strategies highlighted above. Traveling is intended to be an enjoyable experience but not one that is detrimental to your health and fitness goals. Stay on track, stay fit and stay healthy. Thanks for reading, enjoy your vacations and have a nice week.