The excitement of New York City, the long history of Rome, the rugged landscape of Nova Scotia – on the surface it seems that none of these locations have much in common. But they do, they are all popular vacation destinations. Unless you plan a sleeping vacation you can be sure that you will do a lot of walking on you your vacation.
It is important to get in shape for your vacation. I never walk as much as when I am on vacation so it is important that I get in walking shape before I go.
When you plan to do a lot of walking your vacation planning should always include getting in shape. Most tourists do a lot more walking when they are traveling than they do at home so you need to practice before your trip. Walking works different muscles than jogging, biking, swimming or aerobics. So if you are planning a trip start walking now.
Here are some tips for getting in shape for your next vacation:
- At a Minimum: Make sure you can walk at least 2 miles at time. I normally walk between 2 and 5 miles a day when I am visiting a new city, sometimes that is broken up sometimes it is 5 miles at a stretch. When I am hiking or on a walking vacation I may walk 10 to 12 miles a day.
- Practice: Before you leave home take practice walks everyday. If you think you will be walking everyday for a week then practice walking every day for a week so you know what your recovery time is.
- Hills: Most places you visit, especially in Europe have some hills so practice walking on an incline. If you live in a flat area find a treadmill where you can practice walking on an incline. Walking down long hills can be hard on your knees, it is better to know before you leave on you trip if you are going to have problems then getting somewhere new and finding you have unexpected pain.
- Choose Your Surface: Practice walking on the surface you will most likely find on your trip. If you will be visiting New York City you will be doing a lot of walking and it will be on hard surfaces, in Rome cobblestones are common and are very uneven, in Nova Scotia you will be walking along rocky paths.
- Acclimate: If you are visiting somewhere hot try to acclimate yourself before you leave by taking practice walks in an environment that is similar to what you will be visiting. Of course this is not always possible, especially if you are visiting a high altitude and you live near the beach. In these cases be prepared to spend the first few days of your vacation getting acclimated.
- Shoes: Try out different shoes and find the ones that are most comfortable for long walks on different surfaces. You should do this with both your walking shoes and dressier shoes. You may find yourself doing a lot of walking after dinner when you will not be wearing your walking shoes.
- Socks: Test out your socks! Nothing is worse than wearing socks that bunch up in your shoes when you walk.
- Pain Relief: Don’t forget to pack your pain reliever – no matter how much you practice once you arrive at your travel destination and start walking with your suitcases, shopping bags, backpacks, etc. you will need it.
I have started taking a pedometer when I travel so I can keep track of how many miles I walk. It is fun to see just how much more exercise you get in the normal course of a day when you are traveling than you do when you are at home spending your evenings in front of the TV.