Increase Endurance for Your Vacation

Vacation: it’s one of the best words known to mankind. While many people view their vacation as pure leisure, that’s not totally the case. Most trips involve some sort of increased physical exertion, whether that’s more walking around, lifting and hauling suitcases and bags, or even standing in line for longer periods of time.

Here are some great ways to increase your strength and endurance prior to your vacation so that you’ll feel your very best while away.

Start Slow, Then Work Your Way Up

For best results on your vacation, you’ll want to begin working on your strength and endurance at least eight weeks before you go. Speak with your doctor first, then start off slowly with these excellent approaches to getting vacation-ready:

  • Step up your steps: Walking has numerous benefits, from easing joint pain to curbing unhealthy food cravings to reducing stress and anxiety. It is also a wonderful way to up your cardiovascular stamina for your vacation. If you are totally new to exercise, try simply increasing the amount of time you spend moving around the house. For instance, take extra trips up your stairs, do more demanding household chores, or try lifting heavier objects in your home. When you feel ready to take on more, schedule in a 30 minute walk daily. If you’re already doing this, try bumping up your daily walk to 60 minutes, or adding ankle weights.
  • Strength train those muscles: Strength training — either with dumbbells or just your own bodyweight — is one of the most effective ways to increase your overall endurance and build lean muscle. Basic strength training exercises like push-ups, crunches, and squats can be easily modified to suit any fitness level and to work around injuries. Go slow and try out these 10 modifiable, basic strength exercises 2-3 times per week, which will get your heart pumping and improve your muscle mass.
  • Stretch out and breathe: Stretching is an imperative part of your strength and endurance training. It helps your body properly recover from activity, improves flexibility in muscles and joints, and reduces the chance of injury. Try this comprehensive stretching routine, or if you’re feeling ambitious, sign up for a restorative yoga class, which focuses on moving slowly through a series of soothing stretching poses.

How To Stay Rested and Pain-Free While You’re There

  • Pack as lightly as possible. This can be easily accomplished with a little forethought and planning. For example, if you’ll be traveling for two weeks, pack only one week’s worth of clothing, then plan a day to do laundry while you’re there. Or, if you’re an avid reader, instead of hauling around heavy novels, consider purchasing an e-reader like Kindle or Nook, to which you can download hundreds of full-length books.
  • Don’t lift or carry anything that is truly too heavy for you to handle. Ask for assistance from an attendant or a friendly fellow passenger — they’ll be happy to help.
  • Rest as needed. Find a shady bench and take in the scenic beauty, or head back to your room for a midday nap. Travel can be exhausting even for the fittest, healthiest people. Be sure to honor your body’s need for downtime when it arises.
  • Eat mostly fresh, non-processed foods and drink lots of water. It wouldn’t be a real vacation without a little indulgence, be it a few cocktails, a brunch buffet, or some delectable desserts. It’s completely fine to indulge a bit, but try to balance that out with mostly fresh foods and water, which will help keep you alert and hydrated.
  • If your doctor deems it appropriate, take an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen before bed each night if you’re walking or moving more than usual. This will help subdue overall inflammation in your body and you’ll wake up feeling less achy and more ready to start your next day’s adventures.

Looking for more valuable health tips and insight? Read through Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles that are specifically designed to help seniors and our chronic care patients.

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