By Bill Waltzek – CPT
Are your vacations relaxing or active? A nice week long relaxing vacation is a perfect reward for all the hard work of eating healthy and pushing your body to the limits to achieve a sculpted physique. But for those of you like me who find sitting still hard to do, take the opportunity to make the most out of your vacation by making it physical.
I just returned from vacation in Vail, Colorado. Vail is known for its European inspired resort village with amazing skiing and snowboarding. It’s a perfect town to get active in the winter. However, we took our vacation to Vail in the summer, and let me tell you, the town is just adventurous if not more so in the summer than in the winter.
Being elevated challenges your body more so then being at sea level. The lack of oxygen forces your body to work harder at everything, making you burn twice the calories if you were at sea level. According to Livestrong.com, “High altitude affects the body in a number of ways, and combined they can lead to weight loss. The increased altitude and atmospheric pressure cause hypobaric hypoxia, which means less oxygen reaches body tissues. Your body will try to compensate for the lack of oxygen by increasing metabolic rate, breathing rate and heartbeat. This in turn will burn more carbohydrates and fat for energy, leading to weight loss as a result. At high altitudes, people also have higher levels of leptin, the hormone that controls appetite. Higher levels of his hormone means people feel less hungry and experience fewer cravings, so they might end up eating less without even realizing it.”
Get the most out of your vacation with these adventurous activities:
Hike a Mountain: The Mountains are vast and plentiful in Colorado so they will not be hard to find. Make sure you drink plenty of water. “As you ascend to higher elevations, the environment causes significant water loss in your body. Climate extremes at higher altitudes — ranging from extremely hot days to freezing nights — combined with low humidity, decreased air pressure and strong winds alter your breathing patterns and cause you to inhale large amounts of dry air. Less oxygen at higher altitudes forces you to compensate by breathing more rapidly. These conditions can quickly cause dehydration,” states Livestrong.com. It is recommended that to prevent dehydration you should consume double the amount of water you normally intake.
Hiking is an aerobic activity that will get your heart pumping leaving you breathless. Don’t forget the challenge you will feel on your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.
Since there are many mountains, we did many hikes. The first day we climbed and explored the mountaintop of Vail for over three hours at elevated levels of 11,000 feet.
The next climb took us into Glenwood Canyon by the Colorado River, ascending us to the picturesque Hanging Lake. The climb was strenuous with plenty of vertical climbs, but left us with an inspiring reward at the top.
The last major climb took us back to Vail, climbing three miles straight up the ski slop in a rain storm. The climb was strenuous and slippery, and with wet rocks and steep drops, caution was paramount.
Bike Ride at Elevated Levels: We road over 20 miles in the mountain region of Vail. Mountain biking burns over 500 to 600 calories per hour and tones your arms, butt, and thighs. Cruise down hill to feel the fast breeze or for a big challenge take your trip up hill.
White Water Rafting: Get a raft and a guide and take the challenge down the Colorado River. White water rafting can burn over 350 calories and hour and with only had two people in our raft I am sure it was much higher than that. White water rafting tones your shoulders, arms, back and abs. It is also extremely exciting and fun. With the scenic canyons of the Colorado River, this was a favorite of mine.
Go for a Scenic Run: There are trails everywhere in Vail and we took advantage of them. Go for a run and enjoy the views. From mountains to beautiful, sparkling rivers and bubbling creeks, it is hard not to run for hours.
Outdoor TRX: With all the beautiful scenery around us it would be a sin to workout inside. We shot this TRX video outside at a park in Vail. The TRX is portable and a perfect companion for any trip.
Now you can see there are no excuses for letting yourself go during your vacation. Of course at the end of a long hike, a nice dip in the pool or hot tub is great way to sooth those sore muscles and still get some of that relaxation time in. Hey, many resorts have spas too!
Livestrong.com: Does Altitude Cause Weight Loss?