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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Flying Fit

Weight gain is a common concern of travelers while away from home.  Time zone changes, tempting tastes of regional food fare, and schedules filled with sights to see increase the chances of eating poorly while decreasing the likelihood that exercise regimens will be followed.  But, you needn't worry that you are destined to carry any extra "baggage" home, other than souvenirs.  You won't be "packing on the pounds" during your next business trip or family vacation if you follow these tips offered by Dr. Carrie Jaworski, Director of Intercollegiate Sports Medicine and Head Team Physician at Northwestern University during her presentation at the 57th Annual American College of Sports Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland earlier this week:

Plan Ahead
  • Make reservations at a hotel that has an exercise facility and be sure to inquire about the type of exercise equipment offered.  This way you will know if you need to alter your routine during your stay.  Websites, such as Fit Hotels Directory, can help you find a hotel with an exercise facility.
  • If you are unable to make reservations at a hotel that has its own facility, inquire about local fitness centers or community recreation centers near the hotel that you may be able to use.  Some hotels affiliate with local gyms to offer services to their guests during their stay. You can also inquire if there are hiking or fitness trails in the area of the hotel for your use.
  • Do your research.  There are websites devoted to helping travelers find exercise resources in the areas that they will visit. 
  • When packing, make sure to include exercise clothing and shoes.  Pack items such as resistance bands, jump ropes, or fitness DVDs so that you are able to exercise in your room if you can't get to a facility. Also, pack a plastic bag in which you can put sweaty/dirty workout clothes if you are unable to launder them right away.
Exercise at the Airport
  • Circumstances, such as recommendations to arrive early to the airport or unexpected plane delays, can leave you with a lot of "down" time waiting to fly.  These situations provide a great opportunity to sneak in some exercise.  Store your carry-on in a locker and walk around the airport.  Some airports offer exercise resources for passengers such as local gym visits, golf courses, and walking trails.  Visit or contact your airport prior to arrival to learn more about these possibilities.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and athletic shoes to the airport to make walking more enjoyable.
  • Avoid using the moving sidewalks.  If it is unavoidable to do so, walk on them rather than stand.  When possible, take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.  Dehydration and prolonged periods of sitting, such as with long plane flights, can increase your risk for developing blood clots in the veins of your legs.  Getting adequate amounts of fluid will also help you to avoid becoming constipated, which is a common complaint of travelers.
When on the Plane
  • Move as much as possible.  When it is safe and allowed, walk up and down the aisle of the plane. This is particularly important for long flights where prolonged sitting can put you at risk for developing blood clots in the veins of your legs.
  • While sitting, perform stretches of the major muscle groups of your body.  Exercises such as shoulder shrugs, wrist and ankle rotations, trunk twists, and neck circles are all good choices and can be easily performed in the seated position.
Exercise Suggestions for When you are at your Destination
  • Use the hotel stairs rather than the elevator.
  • Walk to lunch and dinner rather than take public transportation.
  • Take walking tours to view the sites rather than a cab or guided bus tours.
  • Rent bikes, roller blades, paddle boats, canoes, kayaks, etc.,.
  • Visit local metro and state parks and explore their walking, biking, hiking, and skiing trails
  • Walk or run up and down the beach before taking a swim.
When All Else Fails "Emergency" Exercise Routines
  • Walk the halls of the hotel.
  • Climb up and down the hotel's stairwell.
  • Use the furniture in the room to do exercises.
Travel doesn't have to put your fitness at a stand-still.  By planning ahead and being creative and flexible, you can find ways to still be physically active while reaping all of the benefits that a vacation or business trip has to offer.

Note:  Prior to beginning an exercise program, or increasing the intensity level of an existing routine, you should seek the approval of your physician, especially if you have been previously sedentary, are an older adults, or are at risk for or have known chronic disease.

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