Latest posts by Kartik (see all)
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If you ever happened to bump into me at my house, you would probably find me watching TLC, NDTV Good Times or any other travel-related channel or programme on the TV. The reason being, I just love to travel. I utilise the smallest little break I get from work, and head out. I was lucky enough to go to a school, which organised trips and outings regularly, and I took many of these opportunities to go places I had never been to. And believe me; it was worth it every time. I haven’t been to any international destination yet, but who needs such places when your own country has so much. Mountains, forests, sea, lakes, rivers, desert…what can you not find here?
And I don’t really need to dwell on the fact that the diversity of people you see here is mind boggling. New places, new scenes, new people and new experiences make me want to go out again, the moment I return from a trip. So, “Don’t wait for the grass to grow”, plan a trip and “Just do it.” When you come back, be sure to share your stories and of course, pictures! Now, enjoying your tour is obviously the most important thing, but so is to stay fit while travelling. Many people, who travel a lot, either fall sick often or gain weight, due to change in climate and place, and different eating habits and patterns.
And it is not just them, I myself, have many times, been a victim of a long vacation. Either I feel too tired after returning or there is something wrong with my already sensitive stomach. Then, the run-of-the-mill schedule of running to the physician and taking medications starts. A time came, when I was done with all this, and decided that whenever I travel, I will take good care of myself. Since then, I have followed a strict fitness regime, while at the same time, not compromising on the things I wanted to do on the vacation. And, in the interest of humanity, let me share some tips that can keep you fit and running during and after your trip.
Put those feet to good use
One of the best ways to take in the essence of a place is to meet its locals. And you sure can’t do so by taking a taxi to get around (unless you are planning to mingle only with the driver!). So, what I suggest is that you shun this worthless habit of hiring a taxi, and use the greatest vehicle at your disposal, “Your feet”. Walking has been my ace of spades when it comes to keeping myself in shape while travelling. It is an excellent way to exercise while roaming around at your own leisurely pace.
Unless you are going to a ghost town, you would meet locals on the way, who you can talk to. This way, you will never have to get stuck in noisy traffic and waste your precious time.
You should especially consider walking if you are in the mountains or by the sea. Walking and breathing the fresh air will be an apt workout, for which you won’t even have to go to the gym.
Make smart eating choices while travelling. Take it from someone, who eats like there is no tomorrow, and then gets sick. Last year, my cousin went on a culinary trip to Singapore. She spent the entire week roaming the streets and eating delicacies like prawns and sushi. When she returned, she was severely constipated. Eating the local food of a place gets us all excited, but don’t be a hero and eat everything you want in one sitting. If you are on a short trip, then have only those things you have been dying for. The rest can be left for another time.
If your trip is long, say a week, then you can alternate between heavy and light meals. Have all the red meat you want, say at night, and then eat lightly the next morning and afternoon. If possible, exercise in the morning to help with the digestion and make room for the next meal. Give local fruits and vegetables a fair chance. Indulge in fresh juices and salads. If you happen to dine at a high-end restaurant and the waiter asks you how you want your meat, and then go for the 70:30 meat to fat ratio. This ratio gives the best flavour and also doesn’t make you fat.
Certain places like Kerala are renowned for their spicy food. There are people, whose stomach cannot stand such spicy and hot dishes, and if you are one of those, then try not to have such dishes just for the heck of it. Or, if you really want to try the dish, then have the spice content reduced. Also, take your allergies, if any, into account and ask the cook to remove the allergy-causing ingredient from the dish, beforehand.
Make the Surroundings your Playground
For most of us, the idea of a vacation mainly revolves around not doing anything and just lazing around. Sloth was not listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins for no reason…It can actually make you sick. What you can do to keep yourself active, is take inspiration from mother earth. For instance, if you are in the mountains, go for a hike. The cool, unpolluted air, combined with the continuous ascent and descent, will build your muscles and smoothen your breathing. Whenever I am in Nainital, I make it a point to walk along the eastern edge of the lake or hike all the way up to China Peak.
In a seaside location, make it a point to go for a swim in the ocean, if you know how to do it. No other activity burns as much calories as swimming. Just go into the water and say hello to the regional marine animals. Also, opt for cycling wherever possible. Places like Goa, Puducherry, Udaipur offer some great cycling opportunities. Another great option is to indulge in some fun adventure activities like trekking, rafting, kayaking. These not only add an element of thrill to your trip but also help you stay active.
Ditch the Lift – Give the Staircase a Try
When we are in school, we can eat by the buckets, but we get sick less often. The reason being, that we play and run a lot, and it helps in digestion, allowing the body to work smoothly. Nowadays, most buildings have lifts and we have spoiled ourselves by using them habitually. It is not a good idea as it almost puts an end to the physical activity. My stomach had been giving me problems for a while, and my doctor told me that because I wasn’t doing any physical activity (going to the office and coming back doesn’t count), my body was not functioning smoothly. So, I took his advice and stopped using the lift at my office, going up three floors by stairs instead, and this has actually worked.
Practise Yoga and Meditation
Among all the health-related sciences, our very own Yoga puts all others to shame. Each asana is designed to put a specific body part to work and cure a certain type of ailment. Many celebrities brag about taking up the practice to stay fit. If you are in a place like Rishikesh, then you must make it a point to do Yoga. Head to any of the ashrams or ask your hotel staff to arrange for a session with a guru. And, please do it outdoors and not in an air-conditioned room.
You may also take up meditation. Just, sit by a river or a meadow, surrounded by mountains, close your eyes and lose yourself to the environment. Think of a particular thing and keep thinking of it, while practising “controlled breathing”. This will calm your mind, help you gather your thoughts into one coherent stream, and channelise your energy into a positive force and something fruitful.
Since I have started doing all these, I swear I have been a lot fitter and my medication expenses have been to the bare minimum. So, take my advice, follow my tips to avoid saying after returning from a holiday, “Oh, I never want to travel again.”