Fit For Adventure
By: Amy Chang Radosevich, MA, ACSM, ACE, AFAA
Following the advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I took a trip to London, United Kingdom this year. Aside from hitting a few major tourist landmarks like the Buckingham Palace, Tower of London and some of the Royal Parks, I love seeing new places through the locals eyes. I prefer to walk, take public transportation and sometimes just let myself get lost. I tend to discover the most memorable places or experiences when I have no particular destination in mind. That said, getting lost may also mean thousands of extra steps I didn’t anticipate taking. That’s a small price to pay for taking the scenic route. The only dreadful part of my trip was upon returning into the US, I got held up in the neverending customs line for 2 hours or what felt like eternity. Welcome back to reality indeed!
Reflecting upon my trip, I felt grateful that I was able to travel the way I wanted to and was never once limited by my level of physical fitness or ability. I was able to cover 20K+ steps on many days and carry my backpack and suitcase up and down subway stairs where needed. While this was not even close to what could be considered a physically strenuous undertaking, I could imagine how an average individual with a sedentary lifestyle might find this rather exhausting. What if we add the age factor to the equation? Afterall, many people don’t have the time or financial freedom to travel until later in life. Now that we have all the free time and the financial means to travel, do we have the health and the physical ability to actually enjoy the experience?
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, more than 50 percent of adults 65 and older are physically inactive. Researchers from AARP cited that health was the second most common barrier preventing baby boomers from taking all the trips they would have liked. Thankfully, I know many of you reading this are probably in the physically active category and are in much better shape than the average American adult; but we can still certainly focus on making sure that your workout programs are designed to meet your travel goals and needs. Take leisure travel for example, here’s a list of potential physical demands:
- Rushing to plane gate with your carry-on luggage while getting on and off of escalators and moving walkways.
- Lifting carry-on luggage into and out of overhead bins in a narrow aisle.
- Carrying suitcases up and down stairs where there are no elevators or escalators
- Walking hours each day on uneven terrains, cobblestoned streets, stairs with no handrails, hilly streets or trails.
- Having to step over or duck under obstacles like tree branches, logs etc.
- Dodging traffic and people in big crowded cities
- Squatting down to use primitive toilets
Given above physical demands, here are some exercises we may want to incorporate in our fit for leisure travel program:
- Farmers carry with free weights of varying sizes (e.g. dumbbells, kettlebells, Viprs) and possible uneven loads on either side
- Reverse wood chops
- Step up to balance loaded and unloaded
- Anaerobic drills such as sprints and stair repeats
- Balance drills on Airex pad, BOSU or other uneven surfaces
- Step over and duck under drills using hurdles, Viprs or steps
- Obstacle course that incorporate quick direction changes, side to side maneuvers and uneven terrains
- Wall sits and isometric squats
- Stretches that targets all the frequently used muscles while traveling (e.g. hip flexors, lower back, quadriceps and hamstrings, calves, neck and shoulders etc.)
If you’re currently working with one of our amazing trainers, chances are you have already been doing many of these exercises. If you have a trip coming up and plan on taking a particularly challenging excursion, be sure to share the details with your trainer so he or she can fine tune your programming. This way, you’ll get to experience your adventure to the fullest and build the best memories possible. Bon voyage!
- Williams-Evans, K., Fit to Travel, ACE Fitness Journal, March, 2019.