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A weekly article by Debbie Holmes

Fitness, dedication and control

Hello from the north coast of Scotland! Currently, I am on a ferry over to the Orkney Islands. One of the ‘Heart Lessons’ that I learned last year when I discovered that I wasn’t invincible is that you’ve got to take these vacations you’ve been saving for sooner and more often. ‘Cause life definitely throws curve balls!

Vacations are always a good indicator of fitness, dedication and control; which are all taxed when you are away from home for any amount of time. I find it amazing that no matter how hard and regular you exercise, vacationing and traveling can be physically tough. Why is sitting in a train, plane and automobile so exhausting? Not to mention all those achy muscles and joints every time we get up and all those tempting and not-so-tempting calories that we justify as OK to eat on vacation!

Walking miles and miles, climbing old stair cases in beautiful castles, homes and hotels; pulling/carrying luggage around and up and down, standing and waiting for events and taxi’s and then walking more. These are the basic things that everyday life doesn’t give us. The fitness component of the human body is that part that makes these events more enjoyable when you are on vacation.

We don’t pull/carry luggage around every day. We don’t find ourselves in scary circular stairwells that have been worn from hundreds of years of foot traffic. In the U.S. these historic landmarks would never pass standards, we’d be cut off and/or they’d build obtrusive protection barriers that’d destroy the opportunity of walking where nobles walked in the past, on uneven and worn-down walk ways and stairs. Nothing in this country that I am visiting is perfectly flat and smooth, there are cobblestones, curb-less curbs, no barriers between humans and traffic. It’s kind of crazy! I’ve caught myself stumbling and tripping a few times.

Don’t you think that people should take responsibility for themselves? I believe that’s what exercise does for us. It gives us that ability to be responsible and to be able to navigate through historic landmarks, medieval fortresses, miles of gardens fit only for a queen, between autos, buses and horses without a stumbling episode that would cause injury.

Exercise isn’t only for where you step, it’s for the brain cells that see the uneven stairs and warn your body to adjust for what is coming within the next second. Exercise keeps the body able to withstand all the variances that vacations require. If you are fit (and strong) for life, you are fit (and strong) for vacations.

This is an extended vacation for me. The longest I’ve ever been away, which means it’s the longest that I’ve been away from my ‘regular’ exercise routine. This vacation is taxing my dedication to exercise and staying in my fitness state of mind. How easy it would be to stay in the car and not hike up into and behind that waterfall? If we allow it, the lazy would prevail in all of us.

Staying strong requires staying regular with your strength training and pulling/moving suitcases doesn’t fully qualify as regular strength training. However, being out of your ‘normal’ routine and into an ‘un-normal’ vacation routine is completely acceptable on a temporary basis. Only if, you take advantage of walking, exploring and moving every moment that you can.

How dedicated are you? There are gyms with day passes available. In fact I went to one in Glasgow with my cousin. My problem, as an owner of a health club, is that I spend most of my time trying out all the different machines that we don’t have at MedX. I did manage to power out a quick strength workout.

Dedication can simply be grabbing some crunches, push-ups and lunges in your hotel room. It can be done and it will help maintain your strength when you are away from your regular routine. What about stretching? It can be done anywhere!

Lastly, your control over what you eat? So many countries provide foods that are healthier and fresher than what we find in the States so enjoy your meals, chose fresh, chose local, practice portion control and know that you can and will get it off when you get home.

Cheerio!

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January 1, 2016 to March 11, 2016

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May 27, 2016 to Aug. 5, 2016

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Oct. 28, 2016 to Dec. 30, 2016