Flights booked. Tick
Hours of research on Trip Advisor and Instagram for the MUST SEE places. Tick
Holiday Countdown app loaded on your smartphone. Tick
We bet the thought might have crossed your mind to add ‘get fit’ onto your checklist but it’s possibly for aesthetics – you have a bikini to fit in right?! Or that little dress that is absolutely necessary for sipping a cocktail on a New York rooftop.
You might have a ticket to the world but a strong, healthy and able body is the key to unlock a whole lot more potential and enhance your experiences.
Let me tell you my story:
Full disclosure, I used to think of myself as active but the gym didn’t interest me so I’d avoid it all cost. I’d take short walks with my aging dog and pat myself on the back for at least getting off the couch.
I’ve always wanted to travel so 8 years ago I booked Sam and I an around the world ticket and off we went on our merry way. Fast forward to the first of my many challenging moments of the trip - a 60km downhill mountain bike ride in Bolivia, (because that was THE thing to do). I survived the ride but could barely walk for days…my body had not seen exercise like this before and certainly didn’t know how to cope.
Not to be deterred I hopped back on a bike. This time to cycle between wineries in Argentina (sounds harmless, right?) but what wasn’t so harmless was hills between each winery. Plus, the Lonely planet mentioned a picturesque waterfall nestled in the foothills behind the wineries that was an absolute MUST see. Always keen for chasing waterfalls (Yes, I am a child of the 90’s, and TLC is my jam) I was determined to find this AMAZING spot. The only thing that stood in my way was a big fat hill. I could barely keep up with Sam, darkness was closing in and I could not muster the strength to conquer that bloody hill. What transpired that day I am not proud off because it involved a full on two year-old style tantrum. The bike was thrown to the ground tears were shed and feet stomped. We never made it to the waterfall.
Fast forward again to two years ago. Different location, same girl, no waterfall to chase but a bike and my old nemesis - hills. Main difference…I was determined never to be defeated by travel activities again. Prior to the trip I’d found a gym I actually loved going to, the people there became life-long friends, exercise was fun, and I got stronger each time I went. This trips activity didn’t end in tears, I was strong enough to make it to the top of a San Francisco’s hills without stopping and I could still walk the next day. Winning.
Whilst this might seem insignificant it was a huge moment for me and I could not wipe the smile off my face. I also realised that the joy in exercise isn’t in how many kgs you lose or what you look like – it’s the fact the you gain confidence and don’t have to hold back. That memory is all the more special because I conquered something and was able to prove to myself my body was capable.
I love to see the world and I will always want to get the most out of any trip and being physically fit to take on the world. There’s a couple of other reasons that exercise is good for travel:
- It helps with Jet-Lag. If you are crossing time zones, try a high intensity workout before your flight, stay active on the plane and complete some low-intensity workouts when you touch down to avoid the pitfalls of jet-lag.
- You get to see so much more on foot which often means hours of pounding the pavements or trails.
- You can take part in activities without your body going into shock the next day.