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Travel and Exercise: Do you take time off, maintain or ramp up?

Posted Nov 16 2009 10:02pm

Airplaneby Brett Blumenthal

When I travel, whether for business or pleasure, I do almost everything possible to maintain my fitness regimen. Granted, It isn’t always easy and I’m sometimes unsuccessful, but regardless, my sneakers, my workout clothing and my iPod are always packed.

Recently, while away with a friend, she seemed surprised when I told her I would be heading to the gym during our weekend away. I don’t know why I felt compelled to launch into an explanation, but I did. I found myself making excuses for my lifestyle and defending something that is natural to me. At that moment, I realized that exercise really means different things to different people. For me, it is a way of life…a way to keep me sane. For others, it might purely be a way to keep off, or for that matter, lose weight.

If there is a perception that exercise represents deprivation, I can totally understand why people would loathe exercise while on vacation. However, there are so many benefits to maintaining your exercise regimen while away. Focusing on the positives might make you think twice next time you whisk yourself away to paradise.

  1. Regularity: I don’t know about you, but when I travel, my digestive tract tends to get a little out of whack. Things don’t necessarily move as freely as I’d like. Exercising helps to maintain proper bowel function and reduce constipation. Further, if you are like me, you may get a little bloated from eating differently while you are away. Exercising will also help to alleviate that gassy feeling.
  2. Energy Levels: When you travel, it is easy to feel tired and out of sorts…especially when crossing time-zones. Exercising helps you to maintain your energy levels and stamina so that you can be productive (if working) or energized for fun.
  3. Sleep Patterns: Just as exercise helps you to maintain your energy levels, it also helps to ensure a good night’s sleep. While on the road, it can be difficult to get the sleep you need. Exercising helps to maintain good sleep patterns, mood and overall well-being while you are away.
  4. Rehab: Chances are when you are traveling you may be indulging in a few extra alcoholic ‘bevies’. Believe it or not, if you feel a little sluggish or even hung over the day after a big night out, exercising will make you feel a lot better. You will sweat out all of the toxins, giving your body a boost in the recovery process.
  5. Weight Maintenance: Although I hate to focus on weight here, it is true. If you indulge during your getaway, exercising while you are away will help you to ‘stay on track’ so that you don’t have to work extra hard when you get home. In essence, you will avoid the “Vacation 5” or the couple extra pounds from your trip.
  6. Stress Relief: Even if you are traveling for pleasure, the process can cause added stress. Whether it be flight delays, long security lines or lengthy check-in processes, the stress easily mounts. Exercising will help you to decompress and ‘let-go’ of the stress that built up from your travel.
  7. Muscle Fatigue: Lifting heavy bags and jostling through airports and crowds can cause pain and fatigue in your back, shoulders, neck and feet, just to name a few areas. Exercising can help to stretch out muscles and release the tension that settles in your muscles.

So next time you are on vacation, think about how a ½ hour walk or some stretching can benefit you…making you feel a little more yourself. Do you maintain your exercise regimen while away? What are your reasons for doing so?

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