When looking at risk for cardiovascular disease as well as all-cause mortality, inactivity is a greater risk for both than any other single habit or practice.
The evidence is clear: “when inactive individuals are compared with active individuals, the inactive individuals increase their risk of cardiovascular disease by between 150% and 240%, and individuals who choose to be inactive accept the same increased risk of heart disease as individuals who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day! Unfortunately, 15% of the adult population in the United States still smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, and 60% to 80% are either not adequately active or completely inactive. Thus, inactivity carries the same risk as cigarette smoking a pack of cigarettes per day and is between 4 and 5 times more prevalent! source
So how much exercise do you need? 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, plus 2 days/week of strength training exercise is the general recommendation released by the CDC recently. Always check with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations tailored to your individual needs, and check out the CDC’s general guidelines here.
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I am all for relaxing a bit & enjoying some indulgences when traveling; however, if I go completely off the rails, I end up with inflammation, bloating, and fatigue. I try to stick to 90×10 or 80×20 when traveling – it’s not too hard with just a bit of planning. Here are some strategies I’ve incorporated when traveling to stay on track.
While en route:
If traveling by plane, bring pre-packaged snacks like organic nuts. Buy water once thru security and consider adding electrolytes so as not to become dehydrated.
Eat before you go if you think you may be short on time in the airport & won’t be able to grab a snack.
If you forgot to pack, Starbucks often has nuts or I get their oatmeal (just don’t add ALL the toppings, esp not the brown sugar).
If traveling by car, I like to pack my lunch in a cooler bag – my husband & kids will insist on drive-thru lunch & I don’t want to waste calories on junk food.
If I don’t have access to a kitchen:
Research: Scout out some healthy options, particularly for breakfast & lunch. See what’s on the room service menu. Call the Concierge ahead of time & see if they can recommend a great smoothie/juice bar and a place to get a quick salad nearby or on one of the delivery apps.
Pack some snacks to keep in the hotel room:
Fruit, veggie sticks (if you have a mini fridge), nuts, kale chips, roasted seaweed packs, etc. I like to have a snack before leaving for dinner if I’m concerned we’ll have to wait for a table at the restaurant.
Run to the grocery at some point early in your stay. My husband knows we have to make a quick stop at Whole Foods on the way from the airport to the hotel & grab some healthy snacks or breakfast items to keep on hand. Make a list before you leave home so you can get in & out of the store quickly.
If you DO have a kitchen:
Pack some snacks, drinks, coffee, and maybe a quick breakfast option (fruit, oats) for when you arrive & the next morning so you don’t have to rush to the grocery first thing – they’re often super crowded on Saturdays! We usually hit the grocery early Sunday morning.
Look at your itinerary & see what meals you plan on eating in: we usually eat dinner out each day, have 1 breakfast & 1 or 2 lunches out, but the rest of the meals, we eat at the house. Write out a loose plan of what you know your people will eat & have a grocery list ready so you don’t waste precious time at the store.
General travel tips:
Stay hydrated! Bring your reusable water bottles & fill them up with water to drink while out in the sun – if consuming alcohol in the sun, it’s especially important to have some water, too so as not to get dehydrated.
Infuse water with slices of fruit or cucumber
Consider adding electrolytes ( I like Ultima or the drops from omnourish.com – I bring these from home)
If drinking alcohol, consider light mixers like flavored seltzer water versus heavier marg or daiquiri mixes.
Plan your workouts:
See what equipment your hotel or condo complex offers, check the current use regulations (mask wearing, pre-registering, etc).
Bring some equipment with you:
mini bands are easy to pack & don’t take up much space when traveling by plane
consider bringing along a set or two of dumbbells or a kettlebell if you have room in the car
Check out nearby fitness facilities, yoga/barre studios & their class schedules before you leave & have a loose idea of any you want to try out.
Check with the concierge or rental agency to see if there are safe areas to go for a walk/run and any areas you want to avoid. Always let someone know where you’re going, and turn on location finders on your phone, carry an alarm or any other personal protection items you use.
Stay active – walk or ride bikes to dinner or excursions, just stay safe!
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HAVE FUN and remember to enjoy worthy treats! With a little planning, you can avoid wasting an indulgence on a crappy drive thru lunch & save them for a fabulous meal!