Time for a quick word association game!. When you hear the word “summer,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? I’m guessing it’s one or more of these:
Most importantly, summer means vacation!
Yes, it’s that time of year to pack everything you own into a suitcase the size of a wallet, wait in endless lines at airport security wondering if they really can see through your clothes (yes), and then arriving at your destination feeling guilty about leaving your cat with a pet sitter.
So there’s that.
To ease the guilt, you consume copious amounts of adult beverages that are “way too sweet to have much alcohol!” until you wake up with your head feeling the size of a Stonehenge slab.
This brings me to two different types of vacationers: half of vacationers strive to do as little as possible (“Hello, front desk? Can someone please carry me down to the pool?”) while the other half tries to pack in as much sightseeing and culture as humanly possible (“Let’s go! It’s 6:00 a.m. and the bus is ready to pick up the sherpas!”).
If you’re of the former group, this is your wakeup call.
By that, I assume you’re interested in not turning completely into a mass of something that used to resemble a human but can now be poured into a Starbucks latte super grande cup.
Because here’s the thing: Yes, you want to enjoy your downtime. But if you completely abstain from any activity, you’ll lose fitness fast — especially if you only recently started exercising.
In other words, if you started exercising only a couple of months ago (good for you, by the way — keep it up!), you’ll lose fitness faster than someone who’s been working out for years.
In addition, due to muscle loss that occurs without use, you’ll start losing strength within 72 hours.
But wait, it gets worse.
Due to changing hormone level, you lose strength and fitness twice as fast as you age. Specifically, lower levels of human growth hormone make it harder to recover.
Geez Louise, you may be thinking. So I can never take time off?
Sure you can.
But if you do just a small amount of activity it will save you from losing all your gains AND make it easier to avoid the excuse, “I used to be in shape until I went on vacation and couldn’t get back into the swing once I got back home…”
It doesn’t take much to maintain status quo without throwing all your hard work out the window.
You need just 20 minutes of high-intensity interval training twice a week to keep both your strength and aerobic fitness.
The key: It must be true high intensity.
If you’re not up for that level of effort, why not do the next best thing? Stuff a couple of lightweight resistance bands into your suitcase and pump out a few reps in your hotel room before hitting the beach?
Pack a light, medium and heavy resistance tube (or use a light and medium together in place of a heavy one) and tuck it around the perimeter of your suitcase. It takes virtually no room, weighs next to nothing and leaves you ZERO excuses.*
Here’s a simple routine to keep things status quo while you’re away from home: go for 12 – 15 reps unless indicated otherwise
1. Warm up by walking around the room or in place for a few minutes
2. Squats (body weight)
3. Outer thigh
5. Chest press with tubing or push-ups
6. Biceps curls
7. Triceps extensions (click on image for video – it was one of my very first, so please excuse the horrible lighting)
*Check out my new Amazon store with recommended products HERE.
Which type of vacationer are YOU? Do you completely veg out or do you enjoy activities? Let me know in the comments section below…
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Got questions unrelated to the post? Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you.
Your Ageless Body Coach,
Linda Melone is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, certified trainer and award-winning health and fitness writer. She specializes in helping women over 50 get in shape and lose weight.