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Choosing Vacations

November 26 - 

Six mile run with Rocky, until he ran off to chase chicks! Twenty laps in pool.

How do you choose your vacations? Do you even take time away? Many don't, due to lack of funds, lack of time, interest, and the guy who really makes me nuts is the one who pounds his chest and brags about never taking a vacation. Well I do, and I think it's an an important part of a healthy active lifestyle.

Since we all experience stress in some form in our daily lives, a vacation is a perfect solution to decompress. The challenges arise when we are faced with choices we normally don't experience at home. While on vacation, we tend to eat in restaurants. Chefs like us to feel satiated and full. This unfortunately can also be defined as fat and happy. Restaurant food tends to be richer, fattier and more plentiful. How many of us can turn away that dessert tray as they slide it under our noses laden with sweet creamy treats?

The other difficult challenge is activity level. If you have not yet come to the conclusion that exercise and activity is fun, then you may tend to put this off claiming, since you are on vacation you want to just relax and enjoy yourself. However, being active and trying new healthy exercise oriented experiences could be just the start of an improved lifestyle.

Pick up Outside magazine the next time you pass a newsstand. Before you read all the cool articles and peruse the gear section, go to the back and read about the active/adventure travel choices. You do not need to be a marathoner or even in great physical condition to go on one of these trips. These travel companies offer all types of trips for all types of bodies. Pick one that gives you flexibility. Maybe your spouse is the super active one and you are just heading in that direction.

We recently joined a group with my family biking through Tuscany, Italy with Ciclismo Classico, a fantastic travel company. We were sitting around enjoying fantastic food after a beautiful day of biking in the hills and valleys. There was this couple who were just so different from each other fitness wise I had to ask. The husband was biking slowly and, like my daughter, took advantage of the van who gave the stragglers a ride whenever they needed a break. The wife was fit and biked impressively hard. It turns out she revealed over dinner that she had convinced her husband there were no hills in Tuscany and it would be an easy ride! The moral is, do your homework and find a trip that challenges you but also suits your desired activity level. After all, it's still a vacation.

I like using the time leading up to my active vacations to motivate me to increase my exercise level. I convince myself that I will enjoy the trip even more if I'm in better shape. When I booked a hiking trip in Peru, I starting climbing the stairs in my building to prepare for the steep oxygen deficient trails. I'm sure that is what got me over some of the most beautiful snow covered mountains I have ever seen.

So, don't allow your present fitness level to force you into the ubiquitous package trips to overrating, drinking and sitting by the pool. Try something a bit more challenging. You will return feeling great about yourself and possibly never to return to another midnight buffet ever. Stay Active, My Friend.