Going to warn you all right up front: this post is 0% planned. I’m also writing it the day before I’m posting it. But when inspiration strikes, you grab it. Despite being (okay, having) a Master of (in) Exercise Physiology I don’t really talk about fitness that much on this blog. I’ve got a snippet or two about how Classpass is great for travelers and I have a total of one race recap on here. But today, my friends, my worlds of exercise and travel are combining the tiniest bit. And you’re just going to have to roll with it. Or click out of my blog, but we don’t want that do we? I’ll be the very first to tell you that it is hard to prioritize, whether it be travel or exercise. Especially as somebody who has a job. And also a blog to run. And laundry to do, dinner to cook, rooms to clean, etc. etc. I get it. You may know that exercise is good for you (if you don’t: just ask and I’ll not shut up about it), but that’s not enough for most people to get into an exercise routine that they stick to. Heck, it’s not enough to get me into an exercise routine that I stick to. But I do it anyway.
And you know why?
I exercise so that I can travel the way I want to. I exercise to travel.
All of the exercise head (and not-so head) honchos that be suggest that you do a mix of cardio training, strength training, and a bit of flexibility training in there too. I’m not here today to give you different workouts that you can do at the moment, but I can tell you why I think all of these are important if you’re looking to exercise to travel too.
Using Travel As Exercise Motivation
Travel as Exercise Motivation: Cardio
When I travel walking is my first option for transportation, if I don’t get on a bicycle. Let me tell you, as I get older it is hard to walk around all day! A lot has changed since I was 6 years old just ready to run everywhere at Disneyworld. Even something as simple as getting out for a 30 (15! 10!) minute walk at some point in the day can keep my legs ready to walk around as a tour a new city.
Yes, I know you know I love to cycle when I get to a new city. Cycling is such an awesome way to see a new city, but if it is at all hilly it can be pretty taxing. I bike everywhere in Philadelphia as my main mode of transport, and that way it translates directly to the way I travel. I just love having the ability to say, “You know what, yes! I will join you on a 20-mile bike ride today. That’ll be a great way to see the area,” without a second thought. If I didn’t maintain my fitness at home, this might be harder than I want - in both the physically taxing way AND anxiety-ridden way.
Running and I have such a love-hate relationship, and I find it super difficult to motivate myself to stick with a running plan. But what about going to a destination specifically to race? This has become increasingly more popular these days (I mean, have you seen the adventure marathon series options? Great Wall of China, hello!). But even if you want to stick to a shorter race, it’s helpful having a base running fitness. I run specifically so that I’ll be ready to sign up for a race in case one of my friends says, “Hey, want to take a race vacation with me?” The answer will be yes, absolutely…as long as I have a solid base!
Travel as Exercise Motivation: Strength
Let’s just start with the basics here. Luggage is heavy and annoying, even if you’re a carry-on traveler. Lugging those suitcases and/or backpacks can be a pain…literally. And when you’re in tight quarters on an airplane trying to heft that suitcase up in the overhead compartment? Oof. Strength training can actually help make this easier for you! Let me tell you, I’m all for chivalrous people trying to help me out, but it gives me such a sense of satisfaction to say, “Thanks, but I got it!” and swing that suitcase up to its resting point.
Okay, okay, I know it’s May and nobody wants to think about ski trips at all. But if you’re planning one for next winter, wouldn’t you like the possibility of being more injury-free and a better skier? Start strength training through the summer! You want a more warm-weather friendly option? Fine then: a hiking trip! It’s nice to be able to head out for a hike and know you’ve got trained legs under you. Trust me, it makes the hiking experience much better! Especially if you’re carrying a pack. Your body will thank you for training.
Alright, I’m going to have a vain moment here. I love muscles and I love having muscles. Strength training makes me feel the best of all types of exercise in the vanity department. Why do you think you see so many Spring Break workout plans? Lifting is one of my absolute favorite ways to feel good, regardless of what type of trip I’m taking or what clothes I will be wearing. Plus: staying active is one of my favorite types of self care on the road!
Travel as Exercise Motivation: Flexibility
Airplanes and airports are 0% comfortable to me. If you find them comfortable, please give me all of your tips. One thing I always do on the airplane is stretch my legs…even while I’m in the seat. Thanks to my yoga practice, this is actually doable. I stretch in the airport too. Yup, I’m that girl. But it seriously makes my time squished into that tiny seat a lot more manageable.
Don’t forget that back and shoulder pain you can sometimes experience while traveling. I know I’m not the only one here! Having a flexibility routine at home can help alleviate this pain. And if it does pop up, you’ll know some stretches right off the bat to help manage it. It’s really all about being prepared!
Finally, how does a relaxing yoga session on a beach, patio, cruise ship, or anywhere sound? Relaxation is the key word here. The more familiar you are with yoga poses, the more likely you’ll be able to piece your own routine together. Or you can plug in a podcast without video and just hit the mat wherever you may be. Sure, there are definitely video options, but lugging your computer around and praying for wifi isn’t exactly the MOST relaxing experience I can think of.
In conclusion, using travel as exercise motivation is all about being prepared for me. I’m ready for any activity when it may strike and I will accept the challenge willingly!
There are a ton of benefits to exercise and I don’t even begin to really cover them here. But when you’re feeling stuck finding the motivation to workout either at home or on the road, having an overarching WHY can be really helpful. This is my why and I think it works pretty dang well. It also makes it easier to exercise while traveling, because those activities are usually built into my travel style!
And not that I condone or believe that exercise means you can eat whatever you want…but exercise does make me hungry. All the more reason to try new foods.
- Exercise: love it or hate it? Would you think of using this as your motivation to exercise? Do you exercise while you’re on the road?
Let me give you a disclaimer: while I am a newly appointed M.S. in Exercise Physiology (humble brag in the disclaimer…not ashamed) and I’m a certified Exercise Physiologist/trainer, I am not YOUR trainer. I love exercise and I’ll talk your ear off about it, but you should chat with a doctor if you’re thinking of starting to exercise to travel. Be safe and smart!