5 Ways Fitness Makes Travel Better
Fitness can truly improve your travel experience. Here’s why - and how you can implement it.
You’re at Disney with your wife and children on a week-long family excursion. Everyone has their wondrous Disney story: hours on your feet, waiting in food lines, dusk till dawn. It’s a lucky day if the kids are cooperating. But let’s say you haven’t been to the gym in…years.
You try to keep up with your kids, but that’s the extent of it - keeping up. You stop for “breaks” every short while to rest your feet or lower extremities. Your cravings are out of control because of the combined stress response, and the nearest food available that doesn’t have a forty-five minute line is fried food, destined to give you plenty of energy to get through the rest of the day (*sigh*).
Perhaps Disney is not your thing, and you’re just looking for a nice, relaxing weekend getaway. Maybe you don’t have children, your weekend destination is a new city, and your goal is simply exploration. You want to adventure around the area, check out some sights and learn about the local culture.
A thought comes to your mind, “I’ll book the tour, that will help me learn and really add to my experience.” A quick search reveals tours ranging from 1.5 - 4 hours in length. “I’ll choose the long one since I’ll have the time and want an immersive experience,” you decide.
You’re probably wondering, “Where are you going with this, Mike? Whatever you’re getting at seems pretty silly. Well, I had to paint the picture somehow. Seriously though, what would you do in these scenarios or any variation carrying an extra 30 pounds?
This is not a foreign example. Picture yourself doing day-to-day activities with a 30-pound weighted vest on. The Disney example: You were foggy-minded to begin with because you didn’t sleep well, and your kids wake you up early in their excitement. Then, you try to keep up with your kids on an all day adventure, tired, cranky and out of breath. Forget the physical feeling, you “feel” lethargic. Your entire spirit is sluggish and slow to respond to the situations around you, and most importantly, you struggle to fully enjoy the experience.
Again, maybe this isn’t you. You have a relaxing weekend away, on your own or with a significant other. “I’ll book the short tour. There’s no way I’m going to be on my feet for 4 hours with no break.” What about the simple process of walking through an airport and boarding a plane? Would it be more comfortable if you had to carry an extra 30lb bag with your luggage? This one, though, you have to carry on your person the entire trip. No checking this extra baggage.
It may seem silly, but you get the point. Many of you know that, hypothetically, fitness can improve someone’s travel experience. And, of course, theoretically, one might benefit from being more fit by having more energy, more mental clarity and more control over their physiology.
My question to you is: Have you ever considered the benefit to you? Fitness can truly improve your travel experience - read on for some hows and how-tos.
Now, we all know how beneficial staying fit and healthy is in our home life, and these benefits are only amplified while traveling and exploring. We want you to encounter a new way of life, a better way of living through better health - no matter where you start. Even as “relatively fit” people, Mike and I still find new levels of enjoyment as we continuously increase our overall health year after year.
Below are 5 ways that you will experience adventure differently as you improve your fitness.
You were made to move.
This one is obvious, of course! The healthier you are, the more things you will be able to do on your trip.
Many of the world’s most popular sites require a small hike to get to or stairs to climb and you don’t want to miss out on these because of your health.
Your body is made to move. Think about where we came from: our foundation was to lead a nomadic lifestyle. Because of this, your body will function better after movement.
Lifestyles today are sedentary (come home after sitting at work to sit at home on the couch, rinse and repeat) and vacations are trending that way as well. People pay lots of money just to go somewhere and sit on a beach. We want MORE for you.
If you’re here reading this blog you probably know the benefits fitness in your daily life, but even just a quick workout in the morning can help wake up your body to prepare you for your adventure that day!
Re-energize your mind.
The clarity in your mind after a workout mimics that of a meditation. A workout is a special kind of medicine. It allows you to re-energize your mind no matter what you’re wrestling with.
There is a clear difference in our energy and our mindset on the days we don’t workout first thing in the morning. This same benefit post-exercise can help you when you’re traveling.
Having a small work out in the morning can help you to have more energy for the things you have planned, allow you to stay positive even when things don’t go as planned, and helps keep you mentally alert.
Improve your professional life.
Yes, we even want you to do better at your job! If you have a routine at home, you know how stressful a day is when your routine is out of whack. This same stress is felt by your body when you break your routine to travel. This is why traveling can, in some cases, make you feel even more exhausted.
What can help limit this feeling? Keep your workout routine intact. If your routine at home is broken when you travel, your progress may stall or even go backward. Instead stick to your same workout regimen as closely as possible.
You will find that you can better hit the ground focused and ready when you return home if you maintain your workouts on the road.
Build your personal confidence.
Why do most people exercise? Physical attraction, obviously. Did you know, though, that exercise can increase your confidence? Yes, if you’re doing it right, your exercise regimen should help you to look better.
I’m talking about personal confidence, though - the feeling of accomplishment that comes from completing something you set out to finish.
You went to the gym when you didn’t really want to, you ran 3 more miles than you really wanted to, you ate that chicken breast when you really wanted a piece of cheesecake. Okay, I’m really talking about myself with the cheesecake.
You get my point, though. People often underestimate the sense of satisfaction that comes with pursuing a fit lifestyle.
Socialize with like-minded people.
We meet the best people at gyms when traveling! They are always so friendly, humble and life-giving. Other gym-goers appreciate the hard word that goes into building healthy lifestyle.
In our experience, most people recognize that we’re not locals and start a conversation. Not just in the gym, but fitness gives us a common language and a default group of like-minded individuals to socialize with.
Tips to Up Your Fitness Game on the Road
Now that we’ve covered the hows, we want to give you some quick how-tos about adding fitness into your lifestyle. Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a brand new worker-outer (Mike’s word, not mine), here are 5 quick tips to help you up your fitness game.
Work out first thing in the morning.
Get your day started right, and improve your energy and mental clarity throughout the day. Besides, stuff comes up during the day, which makes it easier to put off your workout until there’s no time left.
People underestimate the value of hydration. Need I remind you how much of the human body is made of water?
Moving is living.
It may sound contradictory, but we’ve found that keeping moving instead of stopping for breaks helps to elevate our mental energy level.
A perfect example is from our trip to New Zealand. When we drove around the countryside, stopping to take photos, we were ecstatic and energized despite only grabbing 5 or so hours of sleep the nights before. The moment we switched to bus transportation, ZzzZzzZzzs.
Add stretching to your routine.
Stretch out the hips, drop down into a lunge, and loosen up! We’re not built to stay still - physically, in life, or otherwise.
Make it intense.
I left this one kind of ambiguous for explanation. If you’re already exercising regularly, there are a number of ways for you to add intensity. A fitness professional would tell you “add load, add speed, or reduce rest periods.” All of these are viable options, but let’s be more creative.
Try total body - not workouts - exercises. Experiment with something like a step-up curl to overhead press at volume (Hello, grip-strength!). Try unilateral exercises, or maybe an unstable surface (like a BOSU or any cushion). What about plank variations and core work? If, on the other hand, you are not currently in a routine, simply add intensity. Maybe you jog instead of walk, maybe you run an extra half-mile. Maybe you increase the weight on just one exercise, or work on a weak muscle group for you. Take one small step forward from wherever you’re at, and you’re already on the way to better fitness. It really is that simple.
We’re super-thrilled to contribute to the Fittest Travel community, and fully-support Chris and his mission. We hope you enjoyed this article, but more importantly that it added value to you in some way.
Be on the lookout for our next article - Love you guys!