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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!

Get Outside And Get Moving!

Welcome to the first installment of LauraLovesFitness!

It seems only fitting I am launching my blog during my favorite time of the year. Summer gives us 13 whole weeks to take our favorite moves from the gym to the outdoors.  This is your chance to mix things up and turn that next trip to the beach or park into some muscle-moving fun. As you pack up the sunscreen and healthy snacks, toss a Frisbee into your backback or beach tote.  Or you could give paddle ball (my all-time favorite beach game!) a whirl. Keeping that little rubber ball in the air provides a great workout for everything from your glutes, quads, calves, core muscles and your arms. For a real challenge, try “switch hitting” with your paddle. The best part? When it gets too hot, you can take a dip and cool off!

A note of caution: if you’re suffering from a foot, ankle or knee injury, remember sand is an unstable surface. While that creates extra calorie-burning opportunities as your body works harder to stay balanced, it puts extra pressure on an injured area.  I am currently struggling to recover from a stress fracture in my left foot and had to be extra careful on a recent trip to Florida.  What helped me?  Wearing my sneakers (along with orthotics) while walking on the beach. They may not look as cute as flip-flops, but they did help me maintain stability and also took some pressure off the injured metatarsal and inflamed joint.

If your idea of outdoor fun is more along the lines of a picnic in the park, Frisbee and paddle ball can be played on the grass, too. Or why not test your skills at whiffle ball or croquet? Check out your local sports store for plenty of portable games that provide fun for multiple skill-levels. You’ll also feel better digging into the picnic fare knowing you burned some calories beforehand!

Regardless of where you decide to play, remember a few basics:

  • Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids, preferably water.
  • Don’t forget the waterproof, sweat-proof sunscreen. While sore muscles from a game of beach volleyball can be rewarding, a sunburn never feels good!
  • Finally – don’t forget to stretch! After giving those arms and legs a good workout, static or active-isolated stretches can help the body recover. Remember: static stretches need to be held for a minimum of 20 seconds.

Here’s to a fit and fabulous summer!

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