Posted by: thehungryrunner | August 31, 2009

Back from Florida, with a suggestion for Disney travelers (hint: pre-trip training!)

Ah, Florida.  It’s almost perplexing, how much we love the hot, steamy weather down there at this time of the year, both while enjoying the outdoors and when navigating the various Disney parks.

However, I couldn’t help but notice how many people clearly seemed to struggle to get around comfortably, particularly at Disney.  It’s not exactly surprising; while visiting the attractions at Disney is part of the recreation many seek when taking a Florida vacation, there’s no getting around that doing so probably entails more walking and standing around than most people experience in their daily life.  Add in the high heat, crowds and shoes/sandles that may or may not be the most supportive in the world, and it’s no wonder many people are hobbling, limping, or shuffling and wincing by the end of the evening.  The body language on any bus or boat tells a revealing story:  exhaustion, aches, and annoyance.  A stark contrast to the happy-go-lucky jubilance we see on any theme park TV commercial!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!  The next time you book such a trip, make it your goal to spend the preceding 6-8 weeks beefing up your fitness program to include plenty of walking.  Practice good posture whenever possible, and add movements and drills that will help strengthen your balance and core muscles.  Finally, find at least 6-7 stretches that you find comfortable and enjoyable, including ones that can easily be performed in a hotel or even while waiting in a long line.  You’ll appreciate having them and so will your weary muscles!

To quote a recent presenter at my fitness conference, we are all, technically, athletes, even if our “sport” doesn’t seem to fall into the common definition of athletics.  Whether you’re chasing your kids around, lifting heavy groceries, or yes, steering yourself through the swarms of visitors at Disney World, your fitness routine should reflect the needs of your body based on those activities, just like any athlete in training!

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