Get your ESS in shape

by: admin
March 24, 2010

You’ve bought the ticket, packed your gear, and read up on your destination. So you’re all ready? Maybe. Are you fit for the road physically?

Many of us spend our workdays basically shifting from one chair to another , driving to and from work, sitting at a desk or conference table, and then home to watch TV or read. Adventure travel , whether it’s sailing the Mediterranean, hiking the Himalayas, or sight-seeing anywhere in the world , can involve walking or standing for hours at a time.

In general, if you aren’t comfortable walking or hiking four miles in just about any weather, you may find it hard to handle a moderately active adventure in unfamiliar terrain. Always ask a group leader or travel agent about any specific conditioning several months before your trip begins to allow yourself time to get into shape so that your dream trip doesn’t turn into a nightmare due to avoidable injury, muscle strain, or just plain discomfort.

Dr. Eric Plasker, author of The 100 Year Lifestyle Workout, advises travelers to get their ESS (Endurance, Strength, Structure) in shape before they leave home. “Getting in shape may be on people’s minds, but it’s at the bottom of many to-do lists,” he says, noting that a recent survey revealed that almost one-third of travelers exercise less on vacation.

Here are some travel health tips from Dr. Plasker:

  • Stretch before engaging in strenuous activities.
  • Use the appropriate safety equipment. When trying a new sport or activity, take time to learn the safety rules and wear all the necessary equipment.
  • Build endurance with cardio training that starts at least three months ahead of time.
  • Evaluate the strength of your major muscle groups, including chest and back muscles, arms and legs, and set goals for building your strength in each of these areas.

Mastering these simple in-flight exercises, Dr. Plasker adds, can help you arrive ready to go , and they can be done back at the office, too.

TRICEP EXTENSION: Place your hands on the armrests and raise your bottom off of your seat by putting the weight on your triceps. Lower yourself back down, then repeat.

CROSS OVER RESISTANCE: Sit with your back straight, knees bent and feet on the floor. Place the palm of your right hand on the inside of your left knee. Apply pressure with your right hand on this knee while raising your left knee toward your right shoulder. Hold for 10 seconds, then perform the exercise using your left hand and right knee.

DOUBLE LEG EXTENSIONS: Begin sitting upright in your seat with back straight, knees bent and feet on the floor. Raise both legs straight out in front of you at the same time and hold for 10 seconds. Release.

Dr. Plasker advises doing three sets of 10 reps for each exercise. “These exercises may not be as intense as a full workout at the gym, it certainly gets your blood flowing, helps to increase energy levels, boosts metabolism and builds muscle,” he says.

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