To Your Health
July, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 07)
Take in the Sights
Most summer vacation spots offer all types of aerobic activities, such as bike riding, tennis, golf and hiking. Even if your vacation goal is to simply lounge on the beach, you can always take a quick walk or jog, play beach volleyball, or swim, snorkel or surf. Being active will not only help you feel better, but also will help you get to know your vacation spot. There is no better way to meet the locals and take in your surroundings than walking around town.
If building physical activity into your day proves difficult, you can spend 10-20 minutes each morning doing a mini-workout in your hotel room. Bring sneakers and resistance bands or a jump rope for resistance training and aerobic exercise. Without any equipment at all, you can jog or do pushups, crunches, lunges, dips using a chair, or squats, as well as jumping jacks. Of course, if your hotel has a gym and you're motivated enough to use it, you can reach your daily exercise quota in one 30- to 40-minute session.
If you were in good shape when you left for vacation, you don't want to lose the results of all that hard work. By some accounts, you can lose 20 percent of your aerobic power in just one week, 15 percent in two weeks and up to 25 percent in three weeks. Two months of inactivity can cost you all your gains. The only good news is that muscles retain a memory of prior exercise, so muscle strength fades slower than aerobic capacity.
Taste the Flavors
Nothing says vacation like good food. Just remember: Everything in moderation. Sample exotic foods, order dessert on occasion - just avoid full-blown feasts and overindulgences. You can limit the splurges by restricting yourself to one treat per day; make it worthwhile by choosing a treat you can't easily find at home.
In a study from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers revealed a direct link between how often women eat meals out and the amount of calories, fat and sodium contained in their diets. If you can avoid eating out by buying your own healthy snacks - fruits, vegetables, yogurts, granola - try to limit yourself to one meal out per day on vacation. Not only are restaurant meals generally less healthy, but the portion sizes are double what the average person should consume in one sitting.
According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, 67 percent of Americans finish their entrées always or most of the time. Instead, consider saving leftovers for the next day, requesting a half-sized portion, sharing an entrée, or choosing an appetizer as your meal. Don't be shy about asking for your meal prepared a healthier way - vegetables instead of a potato or pasta; broiled or baked instead of fried; and no creamy sauces, mayonnaise or butter.