Summer solstice arrived yesterday, and I along with my dedicated clientele are preparing for vacations and much-needed relaxation time. Unfortunately, vacations and time off can be a source of stress for my clients. When you've worked so hard to overcome so much, the idea of not having the equipment, space and time to do the exercises that help keep the body in balance can be worrisome. Especially when you've got into the new habit of doing corrective exercise to help restore posture, improve function and most importantly, eliminate chronic muscle and joint pain!
Frequently I get asked the following question:
"How do I keep up with my corrective exercises, and stay pain free while I'm out of town/on vacation?"
The biggest challenge we all face during summer or while traveling is losing sync with our normal routine. We're creatures of habit.
In my professional opinion and personal experience, I believe most of us don’t stick to our routine simply because we fail to plan for it. We are, after all, on vacation. It's so easy to let our routine go.
So I've put together 8 tips with practical ways you can maintain your corrective exercise progression to help you stay pain-free during the summer.
8 Tips for a Pain Free Summer
- Make a Plan: It's easier to maintain a pain free status by maintaining your menu and regular fitness regime than it is to start up again after a couple of months of inactivity, or worse the onset of old pain. Make a plan and stick to it! Your health is a priority, so be sure to place your corrective exercise program while traveling at the top of things to do by penciling it into the activity plan. Look for travel options/locations that allow you to stay active or will accommodate space for you to do your corrective exercises.
- Get a Travel Program: Have your CES help create a corrective exercise menu you can travel with. If you know your time, location and equipment are factors that need to be worked around, your CES can work with you to create a positive and achievable solution strategy to help you implement a plan in order to stay pain free, functional and fit while traveling. It's a great investment in your health!
- PLAY! If you are already pain free and functional, and want to make sure you get a workout in while on vacation have your CES help create an outdoor Functional Training workout routine for you. Life happens. What do you do if your best plans fall by the wayside? An outdoor fitness routine requires no equipment or a gym to exercise in. If you are pain free and have a body, you can turn a campground, playground, or backyard into a gym. Outdoor functional workouts are a blast! You'll burn a ton of calories, stay fit and forget that you're working out. Bring your kids along and invite your friends.
- Be an Early Bird: Plan your corrective exercise time for first thing in the morning. Better yet, follow it up with a walk or functional play outside. It's a great way to start your day. Smell the fresh air and dew on the grass. Watch the sun rise and enjoy the stillness before the heat of the day comes. Morning exercise is proved to jump start your metabolism, and you'll have accomplished your posture restoration and pain free goals with the whole day still available to enjoy all that summer has to offer.
- Do your Corrective Exercises BEFORE your scheduled summer activity. OK, so you slept in. It is what it is. Here at Pain Free Posture MN we always say, straighten before you strengthen. So if you're not an early bird, the best advice is to make sure you bring your best and most functional body into every activity possible. The last thing you want is to miss out on all the fun you have planned due to pain and limitations. Plan to do your menu and your best postural alignment BEFORE you go off for a walk, swim, play with the kids, home and gardening projects, travels and impromptu activities. When you do, you'll ensure you're bringing your best body and best performance with you!
- Stay Hydrated. Water is your best friend! The link between dehydration and chronic pain is well documented. As the heat rises be sure to replace the fluids lost through sweating due to heat and exercise. Also, eliminate or reduce your intake of pop, alcohol and sugar laden drinks by making water your go to beverage of choice. Here's a summer challenge: Work your way up to drink at least half of your body weight in ounces--if you weigh 150 lbs., drink 75 oz. of water each day. If you need a bit of taste, add slices of citrus fruit and carry prepared bottles of H2O with you.
- Get Adequate Rest. Summer in general tends to throw our schedules off. The kids or grand-kids are home, you might be traveling, sleeping in hotels or guest rooms and doing extra activities. It can be exhausting! When you multiply factors like not sleeping in your own bed, a break in normal routine, and late nights with friends/family we can get caught off guard. Compromised quality and time can increase pain. Do your best to get adequate rest, and give yourself permission to take naps as often as possible while on vacation. If you're well rested, you’ll have more energy to do your menu, be active throughout the day and give your body a chance to repair and heal.
- Practice Mindful Eating. Summer comes and goes in the blink of an eye. There's nothing like the comfort of home cooking and we all are inclined to over-indulge. Let's face it. Sometimes we use summer vacation as an excuse to eat what we want, when we want it. Mindful eating includes making wise food choices. Remember that inflammation can be triggered by processed foods and too much sugar. Stock up on fresh fruit, vegetables, and lean cuts of protein to fuel your body. Slow down and and take time to enjoy your meal and the company of your family and friends.
I'm absolutely positive there's many more tips you readers can add to this list, and I'd LOVE to have you share what works for you. Please leave a comment below or send me a message. Now get outside and enjoy your summer!
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Stock Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com
Head Photo Credit: Melissa Thome Photography
Author: Deb Preachuk is a Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.
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Posted on Sat, June 22, 2013
by Deb Preachuk filed under