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Learning To Be a Fit Boomer Travel Girl

Shh…don’t tell anyone. My travel fitness has gone kaput. I know. It’s not good when a writer who specializes in active travel for boomers can’t walk up a hill without stopping to rest.

What happened to my boomer travel fitness?

Oh, the list is long. Spending too many hours a day in front of the computer without taking exercise breaks takes a toll on a boomer body. Add in the fact that Alan and I cram our lives to the brim with more than is realistically possible to accomplish, which ultimately wears down my immune system. And then there was that nasty bug I caught flying from Memphis to Montana and the resulting month-long sinus infection that totally wrecked my travel plans for May and June.

Why should I care about being fit for travel?

I want the energy to travel without tiring so easily. Those naps I take on cruises because I’m overdoing it? I’d like to eliminate them.

But it’s my own fault. Exhausted — that’s how I start out every trip. Packing, planning, researching, preparing blog posts ahead so there’s content while I’m traveling, making sure everything will run smoothly while I’m away — with all of those tasks to do, it’s not long before I’m skipping workouts, eating poorly and even working later than usual.

And while I’m on the trip? Besides enjoying the travel adventure, when my companions are taking short breaks or relaxing — I’m taking notes, downloading and processing photos, keeping our readers informed at twitter and Facebook and writing blog posts. Adrenaline carries me through the trip, but inevitably I catch some germ that wallops me once I’m home. I’ve got to find a better way.

How am I going to get my boomer fitness back?

I had already started taking small steps to remedy my lack of fitness when Nora Lynch of Fit Travelers Have More Fun introduced herself to me on twitter. The result — Nora’s writing a series of guest posts through the end of this year to help boomers prepare their bodies for travel, including tips for staying healthy on the trip. And, she offered for me to try her Four Week Travel Tune-Up so that I could report back to you on how it works.

What am I doing to prepare my body for the next trip?

It’s not about exercise — that’s the first thing I learned from Nora’s course. Sure, exercise is an important part of being fit but there’s so much more to it. My second lesson — travel fitness starts at home. How I’m currently living my life greatly affects my health and fitness. Duh. Okay, that’s probably not a surprise to any of us. And, uh, Alan’s already pointed it out to me a few times. But listening to an outsider’s perspective can be just the tonic we need to change things. Thanks to Nora, here’s what I’m doing:

Move that boomer body

I’ve moved my morning workout to the top of my priority list. More importantly, when I’m sitting in front of the computer, I’m setting the phone alarm to ring after 90 minutes. That’s my reminder to get up and move for 10 minutes. I might turn on a Zumba DVD for a short burst of exercise, or do 10 minutes of sit-ups or perform a series of stretches.

Calm that brain

Did you know that shallow breathing is a sign of stress? When my phone alarm rings to remind me it’s time to get up and move, I’m also including a series of deep breathing exercises. Nora says it will calm my brain and relieve stress. My brain definitely needs slowing down. It’s all that multi-tasking. I just know it.

Get quality sleep and enough of it

Living in the northwest has done a number on my sleep pattern. Do you know how long the sun stays out? I’m staying up too late but getting up at my regular time, which means I’m lacking in sleep. And as Sheryl Kraft reminds boomers at Midlife Matters, not getting enough sleep can affect your immune system.

But I can’t blame it all on the Montana sunlight. Taking my iPad to bed is the real culprit. It would be fine if all I did was read a book on it; but, oh no, I check email, click one more time on daily blog statistics and generally flit around the internet. It’s affecting the quality of my sleep. Of course the remedy is to bring a real book to bed instead, but I’m having a hard time correcting this bad habit. So, to ease into it, I’m declaring Tuesday and Thursday nights off limits for the iPad. I’ll let you know how it goes.

And I’m going to make sure that I don’t these five foods that sabotage sleep, which Melanie Haiken wrote about over at Health * Conscious * Travel.

Am I fit for travel yet?

This project is going to take a while. At first, my body rebelled about making too many changes at once. So I backed off and took one change at a time.

Here’s my progress:

  • I’m back to walking up the hill without stopping. Heck, I’m walking three miles every morning plus that hill.
  • Computer breaks to move my body are happening more often but not on a consistent basis.
  • That deep breathing? I’m remembering it some of the time.
  • And I’ve already confessed about the iPad.

Will I become a fit boomer travel girl?

You betcha. They don’t call me Determined Donna for nothing. Stay tuned. I’ll be reporting back on other changes that I’m making to improve my boomer fitness. Maybe it will give you a few ideas on ways to prepare for your next trip.

Do you have tips for me? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email with your comments or questions.

I have included an Amazon Link to the Zumba DVD  for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage for purchases made at

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