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

One Healthy Change: Get up and move

2013/08/12by Donna Hull

tips for exercise on road trips

Don’t keep driving. Get out of the car and move!

How many hours a day do you spend sitting? After reading August’s One Healthy Change a Month Challenge, you’ll understand why it’s so important to get up and MOVE.

My guess is that you already know that sitting for too long is not your friend when it comes to maintaining or losing weight. But did you know that prolonged sitting is actually bad for your health? According to an article at Time Magazine’s online site, even regular exercisers are at risk from prolonged sitting (citing from the Sax Institute’s 45 and Up Study). The article explains that staying seated for too long disrupts metabolic functions, which can cause increased triglyceride levels, decreased insulin resistance as well as a decrease in levels of “good” cholesterol. And that doesn’t even address the issue of vascular health. Are you a shallow breather? Blame prolonged sitting. What’s a boomer to do? Get up and MOVE!

At home or in the office:

When I’m writing an article, it’s not unusual for an hour to go by, or even more, before I look at the clock and realize that I’ve been sitting for a prolonged amount of time. I bet the same thing happens to you when watching a favorite movie or reading a book. We’re doing it all wrong, folks.

  • Sitting at the computer? Set a timer (cell phones have timers) for one hour, then take a movement break.
  • Move your laptop to the kitchen counter and work standing up to change things around.
  • Watching TV or a movie? Move around on a Fitness Ball every 30 minutes or so. Do stretches, abdominal exercises or pushups during the commercials. Make it a challenge to see how many crunches or pushups you can do until the program comes back on.
  • Wear a Fitbit Flex Wireless Activity Wristband to track your activity during the day. (I’m definitely buying one of these).

On the road, in the air or on the ship:

There’s no excuse for staying sedentary while traveling. All it takes is planning a strategy before leaving home.

  • After 90 minutes in the car, stop to stretch and move. It will take longer to arrive at your destination but your body will thank you.
  • Bring a pedometer (or use the FitBit mentioned above) to count your steps. 10,000 steps a day is considered healthy according to Shape Up America.
  • Walk for 15 to 20 minutes after every meal stop before getting back in the car.
  • Build in active days on a long road trip.

Do-it-yourself: bring an exercise DVD. I’m a big fan of Zumba Fitness DVD’s or bring along a portable gym like this one from Go Fit .

  • On the plane (and I find this one so hard to follow on International flights), follow the above advice for road trips—get up and move every 90 minutes. At the very least, do feet and leg exercises while in your seat.
  • Use the exercise facilities in your hotel or on the ship.
  • Take the stairs on cruises rather than using the elevator.
  • Book active excursions that will keep you moving.

Do you have tips to help us get up and move? Please post them in the comments section. We’ll let you know how they work for us.

And here’s another way to ramp up your activity. Join me in the Get Moving Challenge at My Well-Being Powered by Humana for daily emails on how to keep on track, a personalized dashboard, healthy recipes and 10-minute video workouts. Hurry, the challenge starts on September 1, 2013.

It’s not too late to join our challenge. Click on One Healthy Change a Month to read more.

I have included an Amazon Link to Fitness ball, Fitbit, Zumba DVD and Go Fit for your convenience. However My Itchy Travel Feet does receive a small percentage for purchases made at

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 New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

ruth pennebaker August 14, 2013 at 12:49 pm

If you want to move around regularly on a long flight, it helps to get an aisle seat.
ruth pennebaker recently posted..The Morning the Planes CameMy Profile


Donna Hull
August 16, 2013 at 7:26 am

I agree, Ruth. When I sit in a window seat, I hate bothering the passengers next to me (unless it’s Alan), so that I can move around. I tend to stay glued to the seat instead. Not good.
Donna Hull recently posted..YukonHo! on the Alaska HighwayMy Profile


Living Large August 17, 2013 at 8:02 am

Great ideas. I know I n need to get up and move more often.


Donna Hull
August 17, 2013 at 10:33 am

Glad you liked the ideas. I find it very hard to remember to move often unless I do something to trick myself like setting an alarm.
Donna Hull recently posted..Saturday’s scene: looking up in IstanbulMy Profile


Jane Boursaw
August 27, 2013 at 11:16 am

I need that activity wristband. I sit way too much for work every day. But I will say, I recently installed a couple of apps on my phone to track food and fitness.
Jane Boursaw recently posted..‘Breaking Bad’ Recap: Confessions – Season 5, Episode 11My Profile


Jeanine Barone September 5, 2013 at 9:26 am

For me, the easiest thing to stay fit is intense and daily jump rope. I do 250 in under 3 minutes. It’s made me faster and fitter across activities than anything else. I bring my jump rope on all my trips.


Donna Hull
September 5, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Great idea, Jeanine. I’m not sure it would work for those of us with a bad back. What do you think?
Donna Hull recently posted..Scenes From the Road: Alaska Highway Week TwoMy Profile


Jeanine Barone September 6, 2013 at 8:50 am

hi donna, You have to ask your physician. However, depending on the extent of the disc herniation, some people can and do jump rope to keep aerobically fit. After all, your body is in the erect position (which is good) and there’s no heel strike (also good). Plus, you hardly jump more than a couple of inches off the ground.

September 17, 2013 at 7:36 pm

“How many hours a day do you spend sitting?” Too freaking many! Thanks for these ideas. If I didn’t have to get up to use the bathroom, I might sit for hours. Off to get my timer…
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SJ Scott
October 5, 2013 at 9:37 am

To much of life is sedentary. I love your advice to make healthy habit change by simply getting up and moving more. You do not have to be running marathons to be fit, you just have to keep moving.

I had a buddy who replaced all his living room furniture with stationary bikes. If you wanted to watch TV, you had to bike while doing it. Of course he was one of the fittest people I ever met!
SJ Scott recently posted..FitBit One: My Review of the FitBit Step Tracking PedometerMy Profile


Donna Hull
October 12, 2013 at 7:40 am

Thanks for commenting. Enjoyed browsing your “good habits” site. I’m not sure about stationary bikes in the living room though. :-).


Jen December 18, 2013 at 7:49 pm

I love using a step counter. Wearing one everyday keeps me moving. I am dedicated and will not go to bed if my steps are below my goal. I usually go out for walks with my husband if I am not at my goals yet. I work in the office so without this I think I will be a couch potato. It is so easy to use too, set it and forget it.


henry March 31, 2014 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the tips. on long haul flights, I like to dress comfortably maybe change to a different set of clothes and once the flight is near to its end I change my clothes back. Walking on the plane as well or standing for a few minutes while reading a magazine is something I find helpful too.


Robert May 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

Like the article. I think our sedentary lifestyle and sugar intake are two of the biggest culprits of poor health since our ancestors. Movement is not just great for physical health but for mental health too.

One of the things I do is to try to make “movement” fun. So rather than jog – I sprint couple of time. Jogging bore me to tears or I ride a bike.

Point – find what “movement” is fun and do it.
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Gregor May 26, 2014 at 10:35 am

Great article! We need to move more, cause sitting is slowly killing us.


May 29, 2014 at 2:15 am

Amazing post Donna Hull, I am going to share my own thoughts, While you’re waiting in line, practice your balancing skills by standing on one foot for a few seconds, then the other. Gradually build up your time. While you’re talking on the phone, stand up and do a few leg raises or toe stands to strengthen your legs.
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