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USDA Weight-Loss Tips

Exercising While Away

Traveling is great once you get to your destination -- but getting there can mean an extensive amount of sitting, no matter what your mode of transportation. Once you put your mind to moving more, you can fit in bits of activity in all sorts of places -- both on the way and once you arrive.

If you decide that taking a vacation or a business trip is a good excuse to take a break from your physical activity plan, think again. You lose aerobic capacity and muscle strength much more easily than you gain it. Your aerobic capacity declines after just a few days of not exercising, and it's possible to lose up to 25 percent of your aerobic capacity within three weeks.

Planning ahead is key to staying active while you're away from home. A change in routine or surroundings can be a challenge -- or an opportunity. Sometimes being in a different location gives you a chance to do different things. If you live in northern climates and are cold and snowed-in during winter months, a trip to a warmer climate will give you the opportunity to actively enjoy the outdoors.

The following are some things to think about and plan around before your next venture away from home:

  • What will the weather be like where you are?
  • What days and times will you be able to be active?
  • Who will you be with and are they fidgeters or sloths?
  • What type of places are nearby where you can be active?
  • What clothing or special gear do you need to bring along for your anticipated activities?
  • How can you make staying active fun?

Once you've thought these things over, write an effective goal or two. You might consider setting goals such as:

  • While I'm at the conference, I will walk for 30 minutes in the morning on three of the four days.
  • During vacation, I will use the stretch bands every other morning and take the hotel stairs at least twice a day.

Getting ThereTraveling to your destination is primarily a sedentary activity. But you can build physical activity into your travels to help expend calories and to keep your blood flowing.

  • When you're driving, stop at rest stops, scenic places, or parks, and get a move on. Walk briskly for 10 minutes every two or three hours, even if it's quick laps around a parking lot.
  • Turn waiting time into activity time. Whenever you're waiting for transportation, take a walk! Check your luggage or put it in a locker, and walk around the station or airport. Doing laps through several airport concourses can really add activity to your day. Or pace back and forth at the bus or train stop. Instead of dreading wait time, look forward to it as a chance to fit in activity.
  • On the airplane or train, get up and walk the length of the plane or train every 30 minutes or so. Do some stretches while in your seat. This at least gets your blood moving.
  • Keep walking instead of getting on the moving walkways at airports.

At the HotelHotels and motels, even the budget kind, offer plenty of opportunities to be active. So take advantage of them!

  • If there's a fitness room, make time to use it. Set your alarm and get up early or finish off a day of meetings by working out. If there isn't a fitness room, ask if your hotel has an agreement with a nearby gym that you can use for free or a small fee.
  • Swim laps or walk in the shallow end of the pool. Or ask front desk staff if there are safe routes to walk in the area, or even walking trails. Some hotels have maps of nearby neighborhood trails.
  • Once your luggage is installed in your room, take the stairs often instead of the elevator. If you're in a tall building, walk up the first several flights of stairs, then exit the staircase and take the elevator the rest of the way.
  • Toss resistance bands into your suitcase, and do your regular routine with them morning and night. Full water bottles can stand in for small weights.
  • Put a jump rope into your suitcase, too. Jumping rope burns calories fast; just be sure to warm up first. And try to jump rope outside or on the ground floor to avoid disturbing others.
  • Do your regular stretching and strength-training exercises -- at least a little bit. Walk in place for a few minutes to warm up your muscles. Do at least one set of each exercise and enough reps to feel the muscles burn. To get the most out of your routine, do each activity slowly. Slow movements make your muscles work harder.

During Your Days Away

  • Make activity the focal point of your vacation. Perhaps a walking tour or a kayak paddling trip would interest you.
  • If your vacation takes you to sunny places, walk the beach instead of sunbathing -- at least some of the time.
  • On vacation, plan at least one physical activity per day. Take a hike or a walking tour around a historic district, or go shopping on foot. If you don't plan an activity, get up in time to have a good walk before starting the day's adventures.
  • Include vacation-type activities that automatically include activity, such as snow or water skiing, snorkeling, golfing, bike riding, playing tennis, or beach volleyball. It doesn't matter if you're not a pro at these things, just try them out and have fun. Get moving and take advantage of all your resort or hotel has to offer.

Most people understand the fundamentals of losing weight -- burning more calories than you eat -- but who couldn't use a little help now and then? These weight-loss tips don't exactly help you cut corners. They simply help you stick to the healthy plan that's right for you.

©Publications International, Ltd.

This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.