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Vacation: The Ultimate Fitness Experience for the Mind!


A memory from one of my favorite vacation spots: Pompano Beach, FL

If you felt like this work week would never end, you’re not alone!

Despite the fact things have been moving non-stop at my office since Monday, I feared this long-awaited day would never come. Why is the arrival of this particular Friday more special than those of late? Because it means I have only another 24 hours before I leave my production deadlines, conference calls, personal training programs and even this beloved blog at home and board a plane for paradise!

For the past decade, I’ve been trying to plan a girls’ getaway with one of my lifelong friends named Elisa. Then at the beginning of 2012, Elisa decided she wanted to celebrate her 40th birthday by getting out of town with me! Not wanting to be a bad friend, I was more than happy to grant her wish for such a special occasion. We picked the weekend after her March 14th birthday for our escape, found a good deal through JetBlue and booked our four-day getaway to Jamaica’s Montego Bay. Now that it’s almost time to leave, I can barely contain my excitement to completely disconnect from the “real world” for a few days.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn Americans are some of the most vacation-deprived people on the planet. According to Expedia’s 2011 Vacation Deprivation study that surveyed 7,083 people living in 20 different countries, Americans earn an average 14 precious days off each calendar year, and leave two unused. (Canadians are a close second leaving one of 16 given vacation days unused.) Meanwhile, the survey found people in Denmark use every single one of their 30 vacation days.(Smart people!)

Trust me, I completely understand how the desire to succeed can get in the way of our personal well-being. However, as someone who pushes herself too hard for long periods of time, I also know it’s so important to find some way to disconnect from the frenetic pace of the real world once in awhile. Whether you can take 48 hours or a “decadent” whole week at once, it’s crucial for the mind, body and spirit to have a chance to re-boot.

That’s why other than working out in the fitness center every morning, I have no plans on my vacation agenda. There will be absolutely no emailing, blogging, tweeting or status updating while I’m away. Instead, there will be plenty of chatting, laughing, swimming, reading and sipping on frozen cocktails. After a few days of rest, I know I’ll return to New York City with more energy and hopefully a little less anxiety.

I’ll wrap up with a big public thank you to Elisa for giving me the perfect opportunity to take a mental health break. I’m sure all you wonderful readers will understand that this will be my last post for a week. I leave you with wishes for a wonderful weekend and encourage you to find even just one hour to do something good for yourself. Finding some way to disconnect and re-boot can only help you face the next work week with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

Fitting Fitness Into Your Vacation

Photo by Laura DeAngelis

This will be my last post for several days. Why? Because I’m getting out of the hot and steamy Big Apple for long weekend of relaxation in Newport, Rhode Island.  We all work hard, and we all need to get away now and then.  The good news is while you can leave reality behind for awhile, you don’t have to abandon your fitness regimen. If anything, a vacation gives you the opportunity to mix up your routine.  So, as a break from packing, I thought I’d offer some of my favorite ways to burn some calories while on vacation:

  • Walk, walk and walk some more!  Our hotel in Newport is about one mile from the beach, so we get some good strides heading to and from our daily hangout. Then there’s the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, which offers such amazing scenery, you may forget you’re getting a good workout while you scramble on some rocks along the way.  Wherever you may be going, make the effort to leave the car behind and explore the town or neighboring area on foot. (Don’t forget to bring supportive footwear.)
  • If there’s a pool where you’re staying, do some daily laps.
  • Pack a Frisbee or paddle ball game to play on the beach. If there’s a beach volleyball game going on somewhere, don’t be shy – ask if you can join one of the teams.  No sand around? Find a park, claim your spot in the grass and have some fun!
  • Try something completely different.  If you’re near a lake, find out if you can rent a canoe or kayaks and paddle around for an hour or two. If you like it on your first day, you can go back for more during the duration of the trip.
  • Use the hotel’s fitness center. More and more hotels are offering some sort of workout space. Granted, it may consist of one stationary bike, one elliptical, one treadmill, some free weights and (if you’re lucky) a yoga ball.  Those options mean you can still get in some good cardio, and use the free weights as extra resistance for squats and lunges.  Then you can work the upper body with a minimum of bicep curls, lateral raises and overhead presses, and round things out with some core work.  All in the comfort of air conditioning!
  • If you’re lucky enough to be staying somewhere with a DVD player and some extra room, bring one or two of your fitness DVDs along for the trip.

Newport, RI

Whatever activity you jump on, remember to stretch the muscles you worked during that walk, canoe ride  or mean game of paddle ball.  Make sure you also stay hydrated, and don’t forget the sunscreen!

Whether or not the coming weekend allows you the opportunity to get away from it all, I wish you some time to relax and re-charge your batteries so you can approach a new week with new energy to have fun, be fit and feel fabulous!

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