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Stay Fit On Dream Vacations

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Anyone can be challenged to stay fit while on vacation, even professional athletes because, after months of dedication to their respective sport, a bit of R & R may be just what the doctor ordered.

Of course, they will usually be back to their fitness routines before too long.  

For weekend warriors, however, the challenge of maintaining their pre-vacation fitness can be much greater.

There’s so much to see and do that may drain energy, especially in a tropical climate.  

You could be staying in a beautiful hotel without gym facilities, hence your fitness options are reduced to running, hiking, biking or swimming, though only early in the morning to avoid an unforgiving sun.

When you consider that most, if not all your meals will likely be in a restaurant environment and that yes indeed, you are there to have fun and relax, well, that does present a bit more challenge to your fitness, doesn’t it?

To keep your workout routine on track takes careful planning but is doable. Before leaving on your vacation, check out gym facilities at or near your hotel.

This will help motivate you to stick to the program.  You can still have your cake and eat it too, as long as you work it off.

Generally speaking, adults should work out for one hour, three times a week, on approval from a physician, which at least is an excellent fitness ‘skeleton’ you could use to maintain your level of fitness while on vacation.

Recently in Honolulu, Hawaii we enjoyed Waikiki Beach, arguably the most beautiful beach in the world.  

The relaxed atmosphere along with tiny fish dancing between our feet combined to render the idea of working out as pretty much a non-starter.

Our official excuse, John and I, is we were mesmerized in paradise, unable to stick with the plan or even remember it for that matter.

The spell dissipated about the same time we arrived home, Hawaiian sunsets and turquoise waves now filed away.  

At least we did hike up Diamond Head trail to the 760-foot summit, which took about forty minutes. Our reward, as if we needed one, was a treat to some amazing views of Honolulu.

During our stay, we were privileged to be invited by Dr. Jack Scaff and his wife Donna to the Honolulu Marathon Clinic.  

Dr. Scaff is a world-renowned Cardiologist and former marathon runner who founded the Honolulu Marathon in 1973, and in 1974 he started the clinic.  

Known locally as the “Father of Running in Hawaii,”

Dr. Scaff is also the author of “Your First Marathon — The Last Word in Long-Distance Running,” which is a page-turner offering an informative and entertaining guide to preparing for a marathon.  

The Honolulu Marathon Clinic is for every level of runner and has successfully trained patients with organ transplants, cancer survivors, and heart disease survivors.

Dr. Scaff’s talk was about training in the heat and the different ways it leaves your body to keep your temperature at its proper level.

There’s radiation (our bodies radiate some heat), convection, (transfer of heat between the skin and air or water), conduction (transfer of heat through physical contact) and evaporation.  

Evaporation is by far, the most effective method of heat exchange.  

Wearing water wicking clothing such as a tech-fabric singlet that promotes evaporation as it draws sweat from your body and allows airflow provides a more efficient method of cooling than cotton.

When we exercise, our temperature goes up.  Dr. Scaff explains, “Remember we are running in the sun so we are absorbing heat.  So the darker the shirt, the more heat we are going to absorb. The lighter the shirt the less heat we will absorb.  We want to make sure our shirts are as light colored as possible.”

If possible before running a race, spend a few days or more to acclimatize your body to prevent overheating.

Here are five Sun smart tips to avoid heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

1. Wear a hat or cap to protect you from the sun’s rays.

2. Apply proper sunblock before running

2. Run early to avoid overheating.

3. Slow your pace when running in the heat.

4. Wear sweat-wicking fabrics.

5. Keep hydrated

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