ANR Health: Vacation Walking

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Vacation Walking

Walk While Away

Last week we were in Chicago – what a great walking city!  We stayed downtown, so a car was unnecessary.  Every attraction on our list was doable by foot. This was important because it’s so discouraging to come home from a fabulous trip only to step on the scale and be up 5 pounds.  Yikes!  Was that deep dish pizza really worth it?  Of course!  So plan to enjoy it and walk it off.

Often walking a city or even a small town is the only way to truly appreciate it.  Stop and look in the windows, admire the architectural details of the buildings, peek through fences at hidden gardens.  Then on the way back to the hotel, pick up the pace so it’s difficult to carry on a conversation.  Now your heart is working and the muscles are burning.  It takes some planning to incorporate walking into a vacation.

Look over tourist info and websites to decide what you want to see.  Then choose a place to stay that is in the heart of the most of those sites.  If going to Vegas and planning to spend most of the time on the strip, choose a hotel central to most of the things you are going to or off a block or two. 

Not staying in one place, then how do you get your walking in? A road trip is a wonderful way to see the country.  Before leaving, plan on visiting some sites that require walking, not just cruising by.  You can’t say you went to Mount Rushmore, unless you park the car, walk up to the visitor’s center and around the trails.  Get off the interstate when crossing the country and explore a small town.  Hays, Kansas has a university, 3 museums and several hiking trails.

Walking on vacation is vital for three reasons:

1.       Sitting on planes and in cars is hard on leg circulation.  At the minimum, walk 5 minutes after sitting for an hour.  This staves off DVT – deep vein thrombosis. Exercise lowers the risk of blood clots.

2.       Eating out on vacation is necessary, fun and often excessive.  Pounds creep on because we think calories consumed on vacation don’t count.  Wrong – those wine tastings in Napa Valley, cheese in Tillamook and tapas in Cabo do count. Walking may not burn off everything consumed, but it sure helps.

3.       Lapsing from a regular exercise program while away only makes it more difficult to get back on track when returning home.  Most hotels have a workout room, pool or at least a parking lot to walk around.  Your body actually responds better when exercise is mixed up and not routine, so try something different;  lift light weights, walk further or faster than usual, swim a couple of laps.

Time away from home can rejuvenate and reinvigorate us mentally, but we must be wary to not let it undermine the healthy habits we are developing.  Walk!  See the sites!  Walk part of Route 66, don’t just drive it.  Put your feet on the pavement!

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