My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Learning To Be a Fit Boomer Travel Girl

2011/08/09by Donna Hull

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? Post a comment to share your ideas for improving boomer travel fitness. I’m listening.

Are you interested in having more energy, vim and vigor on your boomer travels? Nora is offering a special discount for the Four Week Travel Tune-up in the August edition of the My Itchy Travel Feet Newsletter coming out in mid-August. Are you subscribed?

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 Amazon.com.

New here? We hope you’ll come again. To keep up with us, subscribe to our posts or keep up with baby boomer travel news and deals at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of My Itchy Travel Feet: Breathtaking Adventure Vacation Ideas.

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

NoPotCoooking
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 6:25 am

This is very timely for me as I am getting ready to leave for a trip and like you, usually do so just exhausted. Our trips are very active though- we are on the go the entire time and do lots and lots of walking and I also always try to swim if we are at a hotel with a pool. I need to take more breaks from the computer at home though and keep myself moving all the time. Thanks for the tips!
NoPotCoooking recently posted..Salmon with an Interesting SauceMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 9:18 am

Swimming in the hotel pool is a great idea. Enjoy your trip.

Reply

Living Large August 9, 2011 at 7:15 am

I start off my trips always exhausted too. Great idea!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 9:17 am

I hear ya but I’m changing my ways. Hope this helps you too.

Reply

Jane Boursaw
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 11:20 am

Three miles and a hill every morning is completely awesome. Good for you. And I love that you include physical and mental fitness – it’s all so wrapped up together. I do pay much more attention to my breathing, thanks to what I’ve learned in yoga class. Daily meditation is my goal for the fall. Bonus points if I can toss in a sun salutation or two.
Jane Boursaw recently posted..Five Cool Things: Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, The Hunger Games, Brett Ratner, Planet of the Apes, Longshot MagMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 12:04 pm

I should try meditation. That’s probably next on the list. But I have a hard time slowing down my brain. Travel ideas are churning in there 24-7!

Reply

Sheryl August 9, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Donna, sounds like by being aware you are on your way. Great to make positive changes; I find that one little change spurs you on to make more and more. Keep up the good work! (and thanks for the mention).

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

Thanks. Yes, one of the things I’m learning is awareness, as in how did my body feel when I made that change. Noticing it is positive reinforcement.

Reply

Alexandra August 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Quality of sleep is definitely an issue for me, so I will check out the links. What’s with Montana sunlight? Can you explain?
Alexandra recently posted..Calling All Volunteers ….My Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Alexandra, it’s mainly that it stays light for so long into the night. My body rebels at going to sleep when it isn’t dark outside.

Reply

Barbara Weibel August 9, 2011 at 5:18 pm

Oh boy, can I relate! I am feeling totally exhausted these days and am concerned by my lowered stamina. I mirror all your issues – staying up late to sort photos, produce videos, write posts, etc. Plain and simple, I’m not getting enough sleep. And my Yoga has fallen off as well – not good at all. I need to recommit, like you. Thanks for the kick in the pants.
Barbara Weibel recently posted..PHOTO: Rafting AuSable Chasm, Keeseville, NYMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 10, 2011 at 6:32 pm

Barbara, let me know how your boomer travel fitness improves. I’ll be posting more about the steps I’m taking to be energized on a trip.

Reply

Betty August 9, 2011 at 7:19 pm

Doctor discovered I was low on Vitamin D and B12. Hard to believe the Vitamin D one living where I do. I have added those supplements in the AM and also now walking in the pool 4-5 days each week. After 6 weeks, I can already tell a difference. Do you have access to a pool in Montana?

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 10, 2011 at 6:33 pm

My mother had an issue with low Vitamin D, which affected her health. She takes a supplement too. No pool here in Montana but I have a lovely, rolling dirt road for walks with a killer view.

Reply

Janett Brown August 11, 2011 at 2:07 am

I’ve seen a video on NBC. It was about a 100 yea-old doctor. He is still working at this age. He can walk. And he’s the head of a research laboratory. Well his advice was that practicing is not very important. His advice was to have a happy state of mind. And he also encouraged sex. Well that’s very unconventional.
Janett Brown recently posted..Planning for Retirement ActivitiesMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I’m not going to argue with a 100-year-old doctor who is still working. He’s obviously doing something right :-).

Reply

LeeAnn Langdon August 12, 2011 at 5:19 am

You’re on exactly the right track to get your travel fitness mojo back. Slow and steady, a little bit of extra activity every day will always trump overdoing it and getting injured or discouraged. And you’re SO right to include extra sleep and better breathing in your program. Traveling to new places is an exciting charge for your brain and spirit–and a powerful motivator to stay in shape. Happy trails!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 13, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Thanks for stopping by LeeAnn. I appreciate the confirmation from a fitness professional.

Reply

MyKidsEatSquid August 15, 2011 at 11:23 am

I’m with about sitting in front of the computer for too long. I find that instead of needing to prep for vacation, I have a tough time sticking to my fitness routine while vacationing.
MyKidsEatSquid recently posted..Portobello basil burgersMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Keeping up a fitness routine while traveling is on my list, too.

Reply

Kris
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Oh, this is such a problem. I’ve definitely decided I need to step away from the computer more often. My acupuncturist has been after me to start some weight bearing exercise, since she thinks it will boost my energy levels. I’ll try to remember to report back!
Kris recently posted..Preserving Tomatoes as SalsaMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 15, 2011 at 2:55 pm

Please do report back, Kris. I need all the energy that I can find.

Reply

Wftristan August 22, 2011 at 7:08 am

Hello, enjoyed reading your post, i am into yoga and gym and keep fit by training (or trying to) everyday.

We have included your post in the World First Weekly Wander this week – Its a Weekly whats hot in Travel and this weeks its a Mind, Body and Spirit edition and you are in it – here is the link – http://wfti.co/p0Rl02

please leave a comment on the Blog and let us know what you think.

Hope you Like it

Tristan
Wftristan recently posted..World First Weekly Wander: mind, body and soul editionMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 23, 2011 at 6:07 am

Thanks for including us!

Reply

wandering educators
Twitter:
August 24, 2011 at 12:36 pm

what GREAT tips – not only for boomers, but everyone.
wandering educators recently posted..Dog Meets World Foto of the Week: a New Smile in GuatemalaMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
August 24, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Thanks, Jessie. I’m glad you found our tips useful. Now if I can put ALL of them into practice, I’ll be one fit boomer girl.

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)

{ 2 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

We're Donna & Alan Hull. We KNOW boomer travel.

Since 2008, we've published articles and photographs focusing solely on boomer travel: where to go, what to do and how to do it.

Partner with us

Did you know that baby boomers purchase 80% of luxury vacations and adults aged 55 + account for one-third of all trips in the U.S.? We can help you to reach an audience of active boomer travelers.

Learn more:


Have questions? Get in touch.

The fine print:

Media Mentions

We're the undeniable experts on boomer travel.


Need a boomer expert for your publication? Get in touch.