We all want to feel our best, with enough stamina and energy, to see and do everything we’ve planned and more on our travels. Here are my 5 best boomer tips to help you do just that.
1. Don’t run yourself ragged in the weeks before you go.
You don’t want to spend half of your trip recovering. Did you know most adults need 7 hours or more of sleep a night? Set a strict bedtime with a 30-minute warning for winding-down. Don’t short-change yourself on sleep right before your trip. Stay away from electronic gadgets, online or TV news, suspenseful shows, travel research and anything else that will rile your brain right before bed. Instead, create a relaxing bedtime routine: a cup of herbal tea, a bath, music that’s a treat, or a few minutes of stretching and relaxing breathing. Make sure you’re taking a 10-15 minute movement break for every 90 min of sitting you do during the day. And move your health higher up the priority list as you check off the travel planning tasks. Remember — the most important item you’re bringing on the trip is — YOU!
2. Gauge your average daily steps with a pedometer and increase walking in the weeks before your trip.
If you’re planning to do a lot of sightseeing, this is a must do. Even if you envision a trip devoted to curling up with a book on the veranda or snoozing by the pool, don’t forget you’ll still be facing a couple of long marches through the airport. 10,000 steps per day are recommended for good health, and a half-day of sightseeing will require at least that many. Don’t buy a cheap pedometer — you need an accurate step count to know where you stand. America On The Move is a great website to keep you motivated. If you prefer to count minutes instead of steps, start with a number of minutes you’d feel silly skipping — 5 or 10 minutes once, then twice per day is a start. Create the daily habit, then increase the minutes. A total of at least 30 minutes daily is recommended for good health but you may need more than that to be travel-ready.
3. Know your trip: Evaluate your travel plans for physical challenges and prepare for them.
Visiting the Great Wall of China? Delighting in the fairytale castles of Germany, Ireland, or Romania? Then steps are in your future. On your way to see the Golden Gate Bridge, Coit Tower and winding Lombard Street? You’d best be ready for some hills in San Francisco. Ditto if you’re visiting Mont St. Michel, France, or wanting to catch the incredible sunset view of Phi Phi Bay from the viewpoint on Phi Phi Island, Thailand. If you’re preparing for steps or hills, be sure to consult with your doctor first.
4. Know your body: Are there areas of stiffness or pain that need to be addressed before you go?
Travel days can be really hard on our bodies. Even though we may be traveling 4,000 miles and across several continents, our bodies are spending all of that time in one position: sitting. Do a body scan a few weeks before you depart. Is your lower back sore? Are knees or ankles tight? This would be the perfect time to do some stretching, gently move joints that seem stiff, as well as strengthening and stretching core muscles to help your body withstand the rigors of travel days.
5. Check your energy level: What is draining your energy?
Common energy drains include: sleeping poorly or not enough, skipping meals while eating or drinking sugar and caffeine-laden snacks throughout the day instead, feeling unappreciated or overwhelmed, and skipping regular exercise. Take The Energy Project’s Energy Audit to find out where you stand.
Great travel requires YOU to be at your boomer best. What do you do to stay in shape while traveling? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email with your comments or questions.
Photos courtesy Nora Lynch
Have you wondered if better fitness would help your travels? Well, I’m your guinea pig. Nora has offered her course to me so that I can tell our boomer readers about it. Did you read my boomer travel fitness confession?