A funny thing happened in the bathroom a few days ago. I exited the shower and took a look in the mirror. This, in itself, is not unusual of course. However as my eyes traced the outlines of my all too familiar frame I found myself frowning. My tummy was looking….deformed? And what the hell was going on with my face? It looked puffy! Was I having some sort of insidious allergic reaction? Was the buttered shellfish I ate last night coming back to haunt me? With sudden dawning horror I realized something that I had not truly noticed up until that point…I was out of shape.
“How did this happen?” I asked myself as I quickly got dressed to escape the horrid sight of my flabby backside. “Surely there must be a reason!”
Well, yes there is a reason and it’s a simpler one than my stunned brain could accept immediately. It seems that traveling thousands of miles by plane, bus, and train doesn’t actually burn calories. Apparently typing for hours and building a website isn’t considered to be exercise. And that increased heart rate after morning coffee? No sir, that is NOT cardio.
When we travel long term we leave behind our routines and most of our habits and embrace constant change. However we can sometimes forget or fail to realize that some of our old habits were actually good ones. Back in NYC I played basketball every Monday night for at least ninety minutes. I rode my bicycle nearly every day, I ran up the steps of my fourth floor walk up at least four times a day, and I rarely allowed myself the “luxury” of a cold soda, instead opting to drink things like Vitamin Water. Most importantly I did all these things regularly, as routine. It kept my body in a certain frame and form.
Over the last six months i have traveled from Mexico to Panama, have carried my 15 kilo backpack and my 10 kilo day bag from point A to point B over a hundred times, have swam in the waters of every Central American country outside of Honduras, have kayaked, played basketball with locals, crossed oceans, walked Paris and Barcelona till I blistered my feet, hiked in Tuscany …. but all these things were done at random intervals and were not repeated in a discernible routine.
So, how do I stay in shape during the course of the next six months of travel?
Over the next few weeks I will be writing a series of articles on getting back into shape on the road. I will chart my own progress, or lack there of. I will hopefully bring you the advice and on-the-road work out routines from fitness buffs I know. We will also take a look at the foods I’m consuming while traveling and how I intend on adjusting my diet.