Health Tips & Articles

Fitness Vacation

by Jessica M. Anchor-Samuels, MD

I used to think that a perfect vacation included a beach, sunshine, pina coladas and lots of sleep. While that type of vacation is still nice occasionally, I recently discovered the joy of a fitness vacation. I highly recommend it! What could be better than spending the days getting exercise (at your own pace), seeing beautiful scenery, stopping at interesting historical spots, and stopping to shop and eat. The bicycle companies choose routes that are great for biking (see the footnote at the end for information about the company I used). You can choose trips that are easy, moderate or challenging. I have biked inVermont, but there are similar trips inMaine,California,New Hampshireand all overEurope. The guides are always interesting, helpful and friendly. You can rent a bike from them or bring your own.

The days go like this… we wake up at a fantastic bed and breakfast and eat breakfast with the group. There is then a meeting to review the bicycle route and go over suggested places to stop throughout the day. One guide rides at the back of the group (offering support and encouragement) and the other guide drives the van back and forth on the route keeping a close eye on the riders. The van is there to support the riders- it has supplies, food, drinks and it can also pick you up and take you back to the hotel anytime you’d like. I ride a tandem bicycle with my husband- we usually ride 25-30 miles a day.  There is always an option for riders who want to do more, although I have rarely done the extra options as 30 miles seems to be plenty for me! At the end of the day, I feel great after all that exercise and fresh air. The group meets for dinner and we always have a great time comparing notes from the day.

Each trip has a different assortment of folks participating and it is always fascinating to meet the others in the group. Or, sometimes we have organized 6 people and formed a private tour. Give it a try and maybe you will decide that a fitness type vacation is just as nice, if not nicer, than lounging on the beach doing nothing!

As you probably know, exercise is such an important piece of overall health. It helps lower blood pressure, improves cholesterol, improves sleep, improves depression/anxiety, and it is incredibly energizing, just to name a few. Exercise can take many forms- you do not need to go to a gym! You can do 10 minutes of walking 3 times a day, do vigorous housework/yardwork, climbing bleachers at the local school, dancing, hiking, golfing without using a cart, etc. I do suggest giving fitness vacation a try- it is good company, good for your body and a good alternative to lounging at a beach or pool!

*FOOTNOTE-  Discovery Bicycle Tours is the company I’ve used for years and they are excellent.


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