Spring is here and, as the sun finally pops out, I’m thinking about travel! I love exploring new cities and have many travel destinations on my bucket list. Helping my clients prepare their body for an upcoming bucket list trip is one of my favorite projects.
From African safaris, hiking across
Europe, cycling and kayaking trips, to enjoying a trip to historic Israel, all
of these adventures will be more enjoyable if your body is up for the voyage.
Prepare for Travel
So, you’ve been planning your trip for
a while now. You are getting ready for every detail – but is your body ready as
Many women in their 60s are worried
about their physical health in relation to travel. They are concerned they
aren’t going to have the energy and endurance to keep up with their family and
To explore a new city, you will likely
encounter historic streets and stairways, mountains and hillsides. Many times,
the terrain on these sites is uneven. You might be walking and on your feet for
long days, keeping up with tours.
What about hiking or exploring areas
where there are no handrails. Do you have the strength and balance to safely
navigate these areas while taking in all the sights? You may even have to rush
through an airport or two.
What are your summer travel plans? Whether
you plan to go to the beach, the mountains, the lake, or explore a new city,
you want your body to be fit to travel and be ready to enjoy every adventure!
My client Jo Ann is an avid hiker. She
enjoys nature and travel. She had a couple joint replacements and found herself
struggling to keep up with her hiking buddies even though they were older than
She was planning a trip with her
girlfriends to hike across France going from one adorable cottage to the next.
So, we worked together on specific
exercises that would help her to increase her endurance, balance, and strength
to experience the most on this trip. She enjoyed herself so much she even hiked
to the top of a mountain in Arizona soon after!
If you’re ready to get fit to travel, here’s
my list of exercises that will help you get in shape before your trip. I
suggest practicing these exercises 2–3 times a week for about 8 weeks before
you take off.
Prepare for Takeoff and Landing: Squat to Overhead Press
Getting your suitcases into the overhead compartment on a train or airplane can be difficult, especially with narrow passages! This exercise will help to build strength and power to get your suitcase stored with ease.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stick
your hips back and squat to reach down (to your suitcase). On the plane, you
might have to stand forward in the aisle and then turn to place your bag into
the compartment. Turning your feet versus twisting at your back protects your
back and knees.
Press an object, like a ball or a bag,
up overhead; practice slowly lowering it down. You don’t want to bump another
passenger! Try 2–3 sets of 8–15 reps.
You want to feel your muscles working
and there should be some fatigue in the muscles by the end of the reps. That
way you know you are doing the right amount of exertion for your body.
Restroom Prep: Wall Sit or Chair Hover
Chances are you are going to run into a restroom where you won’t want to sit down! Having the strength in your legs to hover will save you in that situation!
Stand with your feet and knees hip-width
apart. Lower your back as if you are going to sit and hold for 5–10 seconds. Press
up quickly to stand. Try 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps.
Airport Sprints or Quick Walks
At some point during your travels, you
will probably have to rush! Whether it’s to keep up with your group or get to
the gate before your next flight boards, your body will need to be ready to
Going for a walk with some short intervals of
sprinting, jogging, or walking quickly will help your body adjust in times of
Be sure to warm up by first walking
for at least 5 minutes. Then start adding quick bursts of movement –15 to 30
seconds at a time of quick walking, jogging, or running. Finally, go back to
your normal pace for 1 minute. Each time you walk, add a few more intervals!
These exercises will help you shake
your concerns about getting you and your luggage through the airport in time
before the next gate closes, being able to get your carry-on bag into the
overhead compartment, and being able to climb to the top of towers, turrets,
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