Today we have a guest post from an old university friend of Petra’s. Amber is a personal trainer and yoga instructor, and she has some excellent tips on how to get fit for travel. Over to Amber…
How to get fit for travel
Travelling is one of life’s best experiences, expanding your mind and opening up new realms of possibility. It can, however, be tough on your body physically. Lugging heavy suitcases around, catching new modes of transport and dealing with life outside of your comfort zone can not only cause old injuries to flare up but also make you mentally and physically exhausted.
Increasing your physical fitness levels in the build up to your next big adventure can solve this problem. Adding in cardiovascular exercise in the month prior to leaving for your trip can make a world of difference. Cardio exercise is anything which gets your blood pumping and your heart racing. This can include (but is not at all limited to) regular walks, cycling, dancing, or running.
Find something you enjoy and simply get moving. Start with 10 minutes a day if necessary and build it up over time as your fitness levels get better. Remember to include some hills if you know you are going somewhere hilly, it’s no use walking miles on the flat and then arriving somewhere like San Francisco and having to trek up and down hills everywhere.
Building strength for carrying bags
A bag with a bottle of water and a camera are essentials when you’re travelling but get heavy quickly on a day out exploring, particularly when you are walking everywhere. Rather than ditching the bag and camera, build up the strength in your shoulders, legs and abdominal muscles to help you carry what you need.
The last few weeks before heading off travelling, start walking around with a bag filled with a couple of bottles of water. Start with short distances and less water and build it up as your strength and fitness levels improve. Remember to always be walking, running and moving with tall posture, pull your shoulder blades back, lift your head up and pull your tummy in.
Standing and walking with good posture will activate all of your supporting muscles and help you to breathe better too, with the added bonus of looking much better in photos!
Climbing up tall buildings?
Ancient sites, churches, cathedrals and old tall buildings are beautiful to visit and the views are incredible for photography but getting to the top can be tricky. Often there is no alternative but to be prepared for walking up and down hundreds of steep stairs! This requires strength in your quadriceps (front of your thighs) and your gluteals (your bum muscles) and great balance and fitness levels.
A great way to build this strength is to practice stepping up onto a step. Find a step in your house and step up and down with each foot. Try to do this without holding onto the wall or stair rail to help build up balance and coordination. If this feels easy, find a higher step, those with better strength in their legs will be able to step up onto a chair or bench.
It is important work at your own pace and find something that challenges you but doesn’t cause pain during or after the movement. It is highly possible you will feel sore muscles in your legs in the days after your practice your stairs, it is better that these are sore when you are at home than on your holiday!
Dealing with swollen feet on flights
Are swollen feet an issue for you when you are flying? Does your body feel tight and heavy with bad circulation when you reach your destination?
Flying is tough on the fittest of us, those with poor circulation, extremely tight muscles and poor posture will find their body feeling tired and worse for wear when they arrive.
A skin brush is a fantastic tool for those with poor circulation and can be used before and after flying to stimulate blood and lymphatic flow around the body. With a skin brush, use long, gentle strokes up the legs and feet towards the belly. You can also use the brush on your upper body (not your face), gently brushing up your arms (away from your hands) and down your back and stomach towards your belly. Not only will your skin feeling amazing, skin brushing will also reduce the sluggish, heavy feeling that can come from air travel and help you to get moving straight away.
It’s worth getting fit for travel!
The trick to getting fit for travel is start your physical preparation well in advance. The earlier you get started and the more regularly you get moving, the fitter, stronger you will be.
Regular cardiovascular exercise and skin brushing are also techniques which you can carry on into your normal routine. Cardiovascular fitness has shown to reduce your risk of serious health implications, reduce body fat and improve self confidence while skin brushing boosts blood and lymphatic flow around the body and helps to stimulate skin renewal, great for those whose skin is starting to thin.
Don’t let your physical fitness get in the way of you enjoying your travels around the world. Get fit, strong and active and enjoy the incredible world around us.
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Amber Cloney is the experienced personal trainer and yoga instructor behind Elixir Body Intelligence. Currently based in London, UK, she focuses on helping people to recover from major injury and surgery and those new to exercise. By combining strength training techniques alongside traditional yoga, meditation and stretching, she builds strength, flexibility and confidence for her clients and allows them to live an active, healthy lifestyle which they love. Amber regularly posts blogs on her website providing simple, safe rehabilitation techniques to rid you of pain, build strength and return balance to your body, leaving you functioning better than ever before.
All photos included in this blog post were taken on her own travels spanning Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.