Today, everyone is health conscious. We expect to live longer and we want to live better. Research has shown us that fitness in our later years, while important, needs to be based on lifelong good habits and lifestyle. Nowadays with modern technology, we have devices that tell us how many steps we take throughout the day and how many calories we burn and which monitor our vital signs.
We make time for regular exercises such as walking, biking, and swimming laps, or exercising in our backyard pool or weight training at the local fitness center. More people are prioritizing fitness as part of their daily routine. So what happens when we are going on vacation? With a little research and planning*, your workouts can continue wherever you are. Here are 7 ideas to help you.
*If you are worried about your safety while trying exercises, seek a healthcare/fitness professional ahead of time.
Plan your vacation around your fitness favorite. If you love to hike, plan a trip to Glacier National Park. The trails vary in difficulty from easy to extreme. You can hike an easy trail through the woods, past waterfalls to a small lake where you can watch the moose feeding.
If you are very fit, climb the switchback trail up the mountainside to see the last remaining glacier in the U.S. If you live on the eastern part of the US., hike a section of the Appalachian Trail. This trail runs from the state of Maine to the state of Georgia. Check out the national and state parks in the area you are traveling to for hiking opportunities.
Biking is another favorite fitness activity that can be incorporated into your vacation or become the purpose of your vacation. Every state has trails designed for biking. They can be anywhere from a few blocks through the local park to a couple of hundred miles.
One of the biggest proponents of multipurpose trails is an organization called Rails to Trails. They have converted old unused railroad tracks into trails for bikers or hikers to use. A lot of the trails go through some of the most attractive areas of each state.
Recently Rails to Trails announced their plan to develop a continuous trail across the U.S. from Washington D.C. to Washington State. The trail will be made up of existing trails combined with new sections of trail that will connect into a single cross country trail. It is estimated that the trail is over 50% completed, and that it will take approximately 20 years to build the connecting segments.
If the vacation you are planning is centered on the beach and reading the latest summer novels, you can still fit in a fun workout. Take a walk in the soft sand to work your calf muscles or walk in the water. The deeper the water, the greater the resistance of the water. Swing your arms in the water as you walk with your palms facing forward. The resistance of the water against your hands will give your arms a good workout as well. Another option is to try a new sport like surfing or sailboarding. The process of learning how to do it is guaranteed to give you a good workout!
Hotel/Spa with Fitness Center
Choose the right hotel. If your vacation isn’t centered on your favorite fitness activity but you do want to continue a daily exercise routine, make having a fitness center and/or pool a top criterion when choosing a hotel. Many hotels have recognized that their guests want to continue their daily fitness routine even when on vacation or a business trip. A hotel swimming pool or a workout center with quality equipment will give you that option. Larger hotels and resorts often have spa facilities available where services range from a facial to instructor-led Tai Chi.
If you’re having a lazy day just lounging around in the hotel room, that’s okay too! We’ve got 6 Safe and Simple Exercises for Seniors that you can do in the comfort of your room!
AirBnBs Near Places to Exercise
If you are not familiar with AirBnBs, they are homes that people rent out for short periods of time, sometimes associated with a specific event. Think of the Olympic Games or a car race that is held once a year. These locations require a lot of places for people to stay for an event that is held once a year. The rest of the year these aren’t needed. This often meant you had to stay in a hotel that was quite a distance from the event you wanted to see.
An AirBnB gives the homeowner the opportunity to profit by renting out their home, and the renter is closer to the event or area they want to enjoy. The AirBnB is especially attractive to families with children and groups of friends who want to enjoy their vacation together.
Some of these homes have a fitness area in the home or a great backyard pool for you to use. Some are attractive because of their location. You can find an AirBnB in close proximity to several top-rated golf courses and plan a golf vacation in that area. You and your family can stay together at an AirBnB at the site where you want to run the marathon or Ironman competitions.
We all have used the “tricks” for fitness like parking at the far end of the parking lot at work or the shopping mall, rather than the closest spot to the door. Those types of tips work on vacation also. Walk from your hotel to the attraction you want to see. If you are at a museum rather than walking to the next exhibit, go to the exhibit on the other side of the building and then back again. Of course, use the stairs whenever possible.
Reminder, always keep your safety in mind when in a city or area you are unfamiliar with. It may be very safe to walk from your hotel to a nearby restaurant during the day but not after dark. The trail from your cabin to the lake may be well-traveled during the day but at night you could be sharing the trail with a bear or other wildlife.
Staycation with Activities
Lots of people are choosing a “staycation” these days. Why not, when you have the beautiful above-ground pool in the backyard, along with an underused patio or deck and maybe even an outdoor kitchen? Use some of the money you save by staying home and have your home professionally cleaned and your yard mowed and manicured by a landscape team right before you start your staycation. If you need regular help with some with laundry, household chores, meal prep and companionship etc, consider hiring a caregiver from a home care company to come in a few times a week to help keep things tidy. Now there will be no chores to distract you from just having a fun relaxing time, eating all your meals outside (we’ve got some tips on how to throw a great BBQ) and swimming in your backyard pool with friends and family!
Have fun on your vacation wherever you go––and stay safe and fit!
Nurse Next Door believes in Happier Aging.
For more articles on senior health and wellness, check out our Caring Blog!