Being fit and healthy for life is to a large extent about exercising (pun intended) an active lifestyle. Having a healthy mindset to a large degree is also about being physical, being outdoors and being open to new experiences, people, ideas and places.
So my advice, plan your next vacation and make it count. It’s an investment in your health and well being that will pay dividends in both the short and long run. I know you’re so worn out from your daily grind that you might think you just want to sink into a hammock with a coconut drink and not move for 7 days, but hear me out. You can have your coconut drink and hammock time, but if you vaca my way, I guarantee you’ll enjoy them more.
Whether it’s a staycation, a camping trip, or an exotic locale – find your activity bliss (limitless options) – whatever makes you smile while you sweat just a little or a lot.
7 tips to “activate” your next getaway
- Say “yes” to opportunity. If an invitation to do something active and outside of your realm lands in your lap, take it. Adjust your schedule, do what you need to do, but as they say “Just do it.” It’s those serendipitous surprises in life that seem to yield the biggest rewards.
- Try an activity that’s outside of your comfort zone. (On a recent vaca, I immersed myself in yoga and meditation and it yielded some incredible results, as well as a new respect for both activities. I’m a convert – I’ll tell you why in an upcoming post .)
- Go somewhere new. Even if it’s just that park around the corner that you’ve never explored, go check it out.
- Get out of the country if you can. The dollar is strong right now so it’s probably less expensive than you think and it’s such an enriching experience.
- Book a trek, bike / multi-sport, dive, kayak, [fill in the blank] adventure vacation. There are so many great active adventure tour operators out there and they cater to people of all levels. No planning, just tons of active fun with like-minded people. (My adventures have included a 4 day trek to Machu Pichuu, and more recently, an amazing 3 day multi-sport and a 3 day mt. bike adventure in Northern Thailand. (See my pics,videos and posts on my adventure travel site: onthelooselive.com.)
- Do what you’ve always wanted to do. Take that tennis, golfing, dancing, karate, fly fishing, or rock climbing class that you’ve always wanted to. There’s no time like the present so stop putting the good stuff off. Try something new or get back to an old, but not forgotten pastime. With tons of inexpensive and free classes, your local community colleges and yes, even senior centers are great resources.
- Check out local activity meetups at your destination. You’ll meet new peeps and get the local scoop on bike routes, hiking, running trails,etc..
The options are limitless! Tell me, where will you go next and what will you do?
You’ve probably gotten the idea by now that I find being vigorously active outdoors exhilarating. And I count myself as fortunate to have friends who like to share in the fun. Yes, I said, “fun”. I understand that some people, perhaps the majority (certainly, the sedentary majority) think of exercise as punishment. And therein lies one of the greatest obstacles to being more physically active and improving our health. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what happens when we think of sugary / fat, high-calorie, low nutrition foods as “treats” or “rewards” and exercise as “punishment”.
I was in a retail store the other day and noticed a poster on the counter: “Donate to cure diabetes.” As I was paying for my purchase, the cashier asked me if I wanted to donate a $1 to cure diabetes. Really???!!! As a medical writer and health educator, I happen to know that when we talk about the diabetes crisis in our country and other developed countries, we are in fact talking about a self-inflicted condition, directly related to obesity and inactivity – type 2 diabetes. Our sedentary lifestyles and excessive consumption of junky, highly processed, high-calorie, low nutrition food are almost entirely to blame.
We all (all of us runners, anyway) know running is a great cure for pretty much everything that ails ya…Apparently, it’s a cure for homelessness too…. Here’s a quick video about Anne Mahlum, one inspirational runner who has made a difference with her unique running club, Back on My Feet. She uses running to help homeless men and women change the way they see themselves so they can make real changes in their lives. And it works. What can running do for you?
I’ve always believed in the transformational power of running, or any kind of exercise, especially those outdoor activities where you are immersed in nature, to cure whatever ails you…
In his book Rich Habits: The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals, Tom Corley compares the habits of the rich (those with incomes of 160k + a year with 3.2 million in assets) vs. the poor (those with an income of less than 30k and assets of less than 5k).
Or my take on it: moving your body can change your life.
In this Ted Talk video, social psychologist Amy Cuddy reveals research about how our body language shapes who we are. It’s well known that our body language affects how others see us and the conclusions they draw about us. It turns out that our body language also affects how we see and feel about ourselves. For instance, striking powerful, confident poses, even when we don’t feel confident can positively affect testosterone and cortisol levels―increasing actual confidence and decreasing stress.
Contrary to what many may think, when it comes to nutrition, I have been more of a “do as I say, not as I eat” person. With my vigorous activity / exercise regimen, I’ve been able to “get away” with it. But what exactly have I gotten away with by not properly fueling and hydrating my body? The reality is I’ve sabotaged my race performances and suffered some health consequences.
The appearance of physical fitness does not equate with health.