Exercise: The Surprise Benefit Of Any Road Trip!

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For the longest time I couldn’t figure it out.  On every road trip we’ve eaten well, we’ve sampled treats all along the way, and for some reason I always come back lighter than when I left. And then the light bulb went off. Sure we were sitting in the car for a couple of hours a day, but the rest of the time we were walking everywhere-museums, attractions, tours you name it. Road trips can be an awesome way to stay active and improve your level of fitness. In fact now there are even some great pedometer apps you can put on your phone to keep track of your activity. Here are a few suggestions to help you make the most of those opportunities to exercise while you are out on your next adventure.

1. Plan enough stops to limit the amount of time in the car

dakota road trip 040Of course everyone wants to cover a lot of ground but no one wants to spend most of the trip cooped up in the car getting from one place to the next.  We have found to keep ourselves active (and sane) we limit our time in the car to 2-3 hours a day. The most important thing though is to plan your route so there are plenty of stops along the way to keep you busy. And of course, always be up for a spontaneous adventure if it fits into your timetable.  I remember once on the road in Tennessee we stumbled upon the Bush’s Baked Bean Factory and Visitor Center-not only was it a great place to walk around and stretch our legs as we took the tour, we also got to find out how much each of us weighed in beans.

2. Try something new and physically adventurous

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe love museums and historic sights, but more often than not our favorite activity on any trip usually involves something more physical. The kids and I get particularly jazzed about completing a physical challenge where we have to work together as a team or the activity is something none of us have ever tried before. I am always on the lookout for nifty stuff to try. Some of our more thrilling adventures have included wakeboarding in Cincinnati, outrigger canoeing in Hawaii, and white water rafting in Colorado. Although all of these activities required some real work on our parts, none of it was so strenuous that the kids or I couldn’t do it. After each one, we’ve felt like we’d conquered something together-and burned a bunch of calories while doing it.

3. Little things add up

We don’t think about it as we’re doing it, but so many of the places we visit on the road require that we do some sort of physical exercise and at the end of the day those calories burned really add up.  The short 20 minute nature hike at Akaka falls in Hawaii to see the spectacular waterfall is a perfect example.  The same for the hike up the hill to the Wright Brothers National Memorial at Kitty Hawk. We’re always so excited to get where we’re going we forget about all we’re doing to get there. So head up the stairs for that great view and hike along the trail to see those ruins-at the end of the day you’ll feel better for it and will probably have burned more than enough calories to make up for the regional ice cream you just had to try or that piece of fudge that was calling your name.

If you would like to learn more about fitness out on the road check out my friend George at The Fitness Connection at www.2fitnessconnection.com

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