Fitness and Prep for Travel

Travel can mean anything from a leisurely vacation at a resort to climbing a mountain.  This means that different levels of fitness are required depending on what you want to do on your trip.

My last trip was to Sedona, AZ for a conference.  I knew I would be sitting and doing pretty much nothing for most of that week.  The most strenuous thing I had planned was an easy stroll down the street.  So I didn’t need to do any physical preparation for that trip.  However, my upcoming trip for this summer requires that I get prepared for it–my friends and I plan on doing some hiking, plus I need to get used to carrying a backpack instead of a suitcase.  So I need to prepare for this trip!

How do you prepare?

Obviously, this depends heavily on what you plan on doing, but I’ve tried to cover some of the main categories.

  • Leisure walking to mild hiking: Not much preparation is needed, though it may be advisable to do some walking around the neighborhood or on the treadmill before leaving if you think the trails could be more difficult than you think.
  • Mild to serious hiking (3-10 miles, medium terrain): Definitely get in some practice beforehand, especially if you are like me and haven’t been hiking in a while.  You can prepare by going on some hikes in your area of varying lengths.  Or, hit the gym.  The treadmill gets in the cardio and builds your endurance.  You can also climb stairs, if you can’t get to the gym–this also does cardio, and works your legs a lot.
  • Serious, strenuous hiking or activity (8+ miles, rocky terrain): If you’re going on a trip like this, I hope you’re already in shape and maybe just want a hike or two to keep yourself ready.  These kinds of trips don’t have much room for you to catch up while actually out there.  Serious hiking, rock climbing, heavy biking, etc., all require some level of built-up endurance and a body that can take the extended exercise.  To prepare for this kind of trip, I would say to engage in medium exercise or do whatever you’ve been doing that’s gotten you in shape for this trip in the first place.  Hit the gym for the treadmill to build endurance and cardio, both of which are important for serious activity.  For mountain climbing, make sure you have practice acclimatizing to different altitudes, otherwise you can get pretty sick if you don’t know what you’re doing.

For other types of trips, such as diving, canoeing, kayaking, rafting, or other such adventurous activities, unless you’re familiar with the activities already, then get as much practice in as possible before going on your trip.  Obviously, if you’re in a land-locked area and want to go scuba diving, it may be a bit difficult to get some practice in.  Use some common sense and book a learning trip in which you get training and practice for those kinds of activities before you book a trip on which you’re more on your own and need to have had practice.  The better prepared you are to handle the physical activities of the trip, the more fun you’ll have!

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