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Get fit before travelImagine…You’ve planned a big trip and you anticipate that there will be lots of walking and climbing steps, and you’re worried you won’t be able to keep up. Get rid of your doubts and learn how to get ready now.

A road trip or vacationing abroad seems within your grasp, but are you ready to go without hesitation? It’s not uncommon to feel reluctant if you anticipate unexpected demands on your body.

Your trip may include a lot of walking, including uneven pavement. You might have to adapt to a change in altitude or navigate unpredictable passageways that twist and turn. Will you have to duck under a doorway, climb or descend stairs?

Envision how you would prepare for such a trip. It takes some ingenuity. You can make your practice as challenging as you like.

 Matching Your Workout to Travel Needs

Going outdoors is a great gift you can give yourself. Weather permitting, getting outside changes our mood for the better. Try to take long walks in a new neighborhood, perhaps near the water, or hiking on trails suited to your activity level. It’s a good way to start.

As seniors, when my husband and I prepare for a trip, it’s essential for us to focus on stretching properly, strengthening our quads, hips and glutes. We practice balance and core strength to prevent any mishaps.

The last thing anyone wants to do is spoil their vacation. While you don’t need to train like a marathon runner (unless that suits you), it’s important not to overexert yourself in preparation.

  • Try some side-stepping squats to practice having to duck down.
  • Lift one leg up high enough to be able to take a big step forward.
  • Practice high steps forward and sideways.
  • Create a small obstacle course with books and other objects to walk around, such as on and over a folded towel or old pillow.
  • Practice proper lifting techniques when strengthening your arms. Lift objects by holding them close to you, then place them down nearby and repeat the sequence a few times. Don’t forget to use your knees.
  • Work your ankles (important for balance and general lower body mobility) by making circles and going up and down on your toes to strengthen your calves.
  • Work your ankles by going up and down on your toes to strengthen your calves and mobilize your ankles. Then do the reverse – lift your toes.
  • Try to stand more often when possible.

If you have any condition such as osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, chronic back pain, or in a stroke recovery mode, before beginning a new exercise program, check with your physician before severely altering your workout.

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