Especially, like most of us budget-conscious travelers, we carry everything around on our backs. Carrying around a backpack every single day can cause stress and undue pain, especially if you’ve never worn a pack before. It can feel like the guy in the cartoon. Who wants to be in pain and grunting while looking up at the leaning tower of Pisa?
Preparation and daily stretching can help and if you’ve been sitting on the couch and eating potato chips for a year before your trip, read on.
Travel Exercise Tips for You!
1. Start walking!
At the very least, three months before your trip, go out for a stroll once a day. Walk farther every day and make it count. It’s a good thing that you’re out of breath by the time you get back to the house. That means things are happening.
Mix it up. Don’t take the same route every day. Otherwise, you’ll get bored and give up very quickly. This ain’t the gym. The world has something new to look at around every corner. Find local trails in your area. If there aren’t any, make one! I’ve been walking every day for a couple of months now, and I feel so much better. I can walk farther and I have more endurance. I’ve also been road-testing my backpack. It really helps to get a feel for it before my trip next month! Be sure to stretch at the very least your ankles. They carry all your weight and they will feel better. I have to anyway because I suffer from Plantar Fasciitis. If I don’t stretch, it feels like I’m walking on needles at times. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m 6’6″ tall and weigh 300lbs. But I digress, let me show you the simple way to stretch your ankles:
- Start by standing arm’s length away from a wall, or the back of a tall-backed chair. With your left or right foot take a step back, while keeping the other firmly rooted. Keep both feet firmly flat on the floor and then lean forward until your forward front leg is perfectly vertical. This stretches the hind Achilles tendon and some of your ankle. Do this slowly so as to not cause more harm than good. As you do this, take a short breath in through your nose and exhale for as long as you can. This helps get rid of the toxins in those muscles. Repeat for the other leg. Good strengthening routine.
- Something I love to do every day is lifted my feet. This should be easier for women as they wear high heels sometimes. Some men wear them too, but I don’t know them. Stand as straight as you can (barefoot preferably), and lift yourself up, with just your feet, standing on your tippy toes. This can be difficult the first few times around. Lift up, hold for a few seconds, then EASE your way down. I can do this for about 45 minutes straight nowadays. Great for balance.
- Squats. This can also be an exercise at the same time. Basically, you stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and then squat down. For some people, this comes easy, but for a tall guy like me, it’s a challenge. This can help improve the flexibility in your legs and balance.
This is a simple travel exercise tip that you can start even before you leave home.
Get your backpack out, fill it with everything you’re gonna take with you and start picking it up. Now set it down again. Now pick it up. Set it down. I’m starting to sound like Mr. Myagi but I can assure you this will condition your arms and shoulders to pick that backpack up and do it without wearing yourself out. Put it on. Take it off. Put it on. Etc. The other thing you can do is practice packing. You won’t just be packing once before your trip. You’ll be packing every single morning.
Wherever you are you’ll have to learn where things go and what fits where. It’s better to get this down before you leave, so you don’t spend an hour just getting ready in the morning when you could have already been on the road forty-five minutes ago. Live out of your backpack a couple of weeks before you go. That’s right, those nice amenities at home won’t be there where you’re going. Might as well get used to it, right? This blog isn’t about living in a hotel every day, but carrying your life on your back and enjoying life out there in the real world, and having fun doing it and saving money.
4. Clear your mind!
There’s nothing worse than starting the day off in a funk. If you think you’re gonna have a bad day, stop and take the toll of what’s going on. Sit down and clear your mind. Now think about the possible bad day others in the world are having. Think about how good you have it. Your traveling. You don’t have to go to the office today.
Instead, you can go explore the ruins in Greece today. Smile. No, you don’t have your big screen television with you, but you have an even bigger view and it’s right outside your hostel or your Couchsurfing host’s house. You have fresh air. You’ll try something from a street vendor that looks questionable but will taste delicious. Stop moping and get out there and have fun!
Hope everyone enjoys this and doesn’t take life too seriously. Life is too short, explore and have fun!
Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor nor do I claim to be. The stretching routines above are my own and you can use them at your own risk. I’m not liable if you die, but regardless, I hope you enjoy these little travel exercise tips