Ways to stay fit on your vacation

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by Olivia Rossi, RN, MSN, ACSM
Your Personal Trainer

I just spent a week in Nashville for the wedding of a friend’s son. Nashville in June is HOT! Oregon in June is NOT! It was a transition and a challenge to survive the heat and keep up with my exercise program while away from my usual routine. I’d like to share some ways I found to do it.

The first was easy. Our room was on the fourth floor, top of the hotel. I didn’t request that but it’s a good idea for an assured work-out course. At two flights per floor that meant there was a built-in opportunity to walk eight flights down to and eight flights up from the lobby each time we left and came back to the hotel. It also meant walking past the very slow elevator!

Second, there was a beautiful pool that was open from 7AM till 10PM. So I knew I had two options and, since I’m a runner, I always pack my running shoes. The biggest deterrent to that option is my own law of physics: “The degree to which I am motivated to run is inversely proportional to the degree of heat in the atmosphere.”

There was a solution for that, too. The fact that I’m a morning person helped. I ran at 6AM. It was light and relatively cool. I swam at 7AM and had the pool to myself. It wasn’t a long run or a long swim but it felt good and didn’t interfere with our day. In fact, I felt better for it. I then climbed the eight flights of stairs to get ready for a day of exploring. All this before breakfast!

I knew we were headed out into the 98-degree day where we would be outside walking. At breakfast, lunch and dinner every day, I made sure to drink one or two tall glasses of ice water. I have learned the importance of not letting my body’s “radiator” get low, especially when traveling. I also wore a large white sunhat that was like being under a giant shade. It made a huge difference in my body temperature (and my mood) and it fit right into the Nashville scene!

Two other ideas I’d like to pass onto you that helped me to stay cool both in body and demeanor—we did one thing each day and didn’t stay out in the heat too long. We kept our meals small and light, consisting mostly of fresh fruits and vegetables, salads with grilled chicken, fish or local delicacies, with an attempt (though it’s hard when eating out and away from home) to keep salty foods at a minimum. Good water intake is a great way to get rid of excess sodium.

We survived temperatures in the high 90s and low 100s. I didn’t miss a day of doing some type of exercise whether it was running, swimming or just taking the stairs to the fourth floor, intermingled with touring the Ryman Auditorium, following in the footsteps of country music greats at the original Grand Ole Opry House, walking the sacred Civil War grounds of the Battle of Franklin (south of Nashville), and enjoying the beautiful Tennessee countryside.

Keeping fit makes all the other things you do easier especially when you are stressed—and I mean that in a positive way—seeing new and exciting places. You have to take into account travel, frustration, jet lag, heat, getting lost and the unexpected. Speaking of the unexpected, I found an ice rink only two blocks from our hotel! I was forced to buy a new pair of black pants, hat and gloves but was able to borrow a jacket and skates. So, take a breath, smile, do a little exercise everyday and get enough sleep. The rest is up to you. Enjoy your vacation and have a good summer!

Yours in fitness,
Olivia C. Rossi, RN, MSN
Certified Clinical Exercise Specialist, ACSM
Certified Personal Trainer, ACSM