One Healthy Change a Month: A Visit to Canyon Ranch

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Looking to find some fitness inspiration that mixes a health and wellness focus with a luxurious atmosphere? To go along with our boomer wellness series, One Healthy Change a Month, our guest post today by Kay Dougherty (author of BlondeBrunetteTravel) recommends a hearty dose of fitness focus with a little pampering on the side while making healthy changes at Canyon Ranch Lenox in Massachusetts.

Canyon Ranch Lenox Massachusettes
Canyon Ranch, Lenox, Massachusetts

If you’ve been stretching along with Donna so that you can travel comfortably and actively, you may now be ready to incorporate another healthy change. What will it be? Learning how to eat more healthily while traveling? Strength training to be able to confidently heft your bag into the overhead bin? Spicing up your sex life to get the most from the aphrodisiac known as travel? Learning to meditate so you can block out the sounds of that crying baby in coach?

Canyon Ranch is somewhere to explore all of the topics above as well as many more. Nearly 35 years ago, Mel and Enid Zuckerman built the first Canyon Ranch in Tucson, Arizona. Their mission has always been: “to inspire people to make a commitment to healthy living, turning hopes and intentions into the highest enjoyment of life.”

As the lucky winner of a contest, I recently had an opportunity to spend a couple days at the Canyon Ranch property in Lenox, Massachusetts. Having been there in the past, I already knew there would be so many exercise classes, talks, workshops, medical and nutritional services and pampering opportunities that I would want to do a little pre-planning to get the most out of my time there. But to be too rigidly planned before going might keep me from enjoying some of the serendipity of being there so I tried to strike a balance.

Each day has its own schedule that runs from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Before arriving you are contacted by a Program Advisor who talks to you about your goals and helps you plan to make the most of your time there.

You can do as much or as little as you desire. Many classes and talks, as well as all meals, are included in the rate. Services and activities that are not included are priced from modest to yikes!

Canyon Ranch Lenox room
My room at Canyon Ranch Lenox

Canyon Ranch is not a low-cost destination; the nightly fee per person hovers around the $800 mark with occasional opportunities for lower priced packages. I applied the amount of my contest prize toward a “two nights for the price of one option” in mid-February to stretch my money as far as possible. Although the prices are high, the quality is exceptional.

Because I had committed to daily stretching, and didn’t know if Donna had me under surveillance to ensure my compliance, I took the morning stretch class at 9:00 a.m. each day. Canyon Ranch’s clientele is overwhelmingly baby boomers and it was nice to not have the 22 year old human pretzels I encounter at the fitness studio I go to in Boston!

I followed that with a Muscle Conditioning class which used light hand weights and provided some good tips on improving my form. Next was the talk, “Detoxification: How to Live in a Toxic World” that led directly to me coming home and tossing out all of my old plastic storage containers and water bottles.

At lunchtime I sat at the “Captain’s Table” to meet some of the other guests. Each meal has a delicious assortment of options and the menus detail the calories, fat, sodium, cholesterol, protein, carbohydrates and fiber of each selection. Sometimes this information seemed helpful; other times it just ruined my fun!

Canyon Ranch is rightfully known for their cuisine. Their website lists many of the healthy, yummy recipes. (They are not known for their alcohol as none is served.)

Canyon Ranch also provides a lot of interesting presentations on a variety of topics. I attended an excellent and very humorous talk, “Women’s Health and Sexuality” by Evelyn Resh, the Canyon Ranch Director of Sexual Health and “Naturopathic Medicine: Discover Your Body’s Innate Healing Abilities” by a naturopathic physician.

As a girl who finds that pampering makes virtue more palatable I also had a massage, an anti-aging facial, a manicure and got my hair highlighted. Healthy changes don’t all have to be serious!

The change that was new and powerful for me was learning how to do easy things to lower the toxicity in my environment. That’s a change that can have a good payoff but doesn’t require much will power so it has a high chance of success!

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

All photos courtesy Kay Dougherty

Have you ever stayed at Canyon Ranch or experienced a similar fitness-based trip? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.

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