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Fit to Travel: Exercises to Help You Say “Yes!” to Every Adventure on Your Next Trip

By Aubrey Reinmiller May 10, 2019 Travel

Spring is here and, as the sun finally pops out, I’m thinking about travel! I love exploring new cities and have many travel destinations on my bucket list. Helping my clients prepare their body for an upcoming bucket list trip is one of my favorite projects.

From African safaris, hiking across Europe, cycling and kayaking trips, to enjoying a trip to historic Israel, all of these adventures will be more enjoyable if your body is up for the voyage.

Prepare for Travel

So, you’ve been planning your trip for a while now. You are getting ready for every detail – but is your body ready as well?

Many women in their 60s are worried about their physical health in relation to travel. They are concerned they aren’t going to have the energy and endurance to keep up with their family and travel partners.

To explore a new city, you will likely encounter historic streets and stairways, mountains and hillsides. Many times, the terrain on these sites is uneven. You might be walking and on your feet for long days, keeping up with tours.

What about hiking or exploring areas where there are no handrails. Do you have the strength and balance to safely navigate these areas while taking in all the sights? You may even have to rush through an airport or two.

What are your summer travel plans? Whether you plan to go to the beach, the mountains, the lake, or explore a new city, you want your body to be fit to travel and be ready to enjoy every adventure!

My client Jo Ann is an avid hiker. She enjoys nature and travel. She had a couple joint replacements and found herself struggling to keep up with her hiking buddies even though they were older than her!

She was planning a trip with her girlfriends to hike across France going from one adorable cottage to the next. How fun!

So, we worked together on specific exercises that would help her to increase her endurance, balance, and strength to experience the most on this trip. She enjoyed herself so much she even hiked to the top of a mountain in Arizona soon after!

If you’re ready to get fit to travel, here’s my list of exercises that will help you get in shape before your trip. I suggest practicing these exercises 2–3 times a week for about 8 weeks before you take off.

Prepare for Takeoff and Landing: Squat to Overhead Press

Getting your suitcases into the overhead compartment on a train or airplane can be difficult, especially with narrow passages! This exercise will help to build strength and power to get your suitcase stored with ease.

Step 1

Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Stick your hips back and squat to reach down (to your suitcase). On the plane, you might have to stand forward in the aisle and then turn to place your bag into the compartment. Turning your feet versus twisting at your back protects your back and knees.

Step 2

Press an object, like a ball or a bag, up overhead; practice slowly lowering it down. You don’t want to bump another passenger! Try 2–3 sets of 8–15 reps.

You want to feel your muscles working and there should be some fatigue in the muscles by the end of the reps. That way you know you are doing the right amount of exertion for your body.

Restroom Prep: Wall Sit or Chair Hover

Chances are you are going to run into a restroom where you won’t want to sit down! Having the strength in your legs to hover will save you in that situation!

Stand with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Lower your back as if you are going to sit and hold for 5–10 seconds. Press up quickly to stand. Try 2–3 sets of 8–12 reps.

Airport Sprints or Quick Walks

At some point during your travels, you will probably have to rush! Whether it’s to keep up with your group or get to the gate before your next flight boards, your body will need to be ready to move quickly!

Going for a walk with some short intervals of sprinting, jogging, or walking quickly will help your body adjust in times of need.

Be sure to warm up by first walking for at least 5 minutes. Then start adding quick bursts of movement –15 to 30 seconds at a time of quick walking, jogging, or running. Finally, go back to your normal pace for 1 minute. Each time you walk, add a few more intervals!

These exercises will help you shake your concerns about getting you and your luggage through the airport in time before the next gate closes, being able to get your carry-on bag into the overhead compartment, and being able to climb to the top of towers, turrets, and mountains.

For more exercises and tips to help you have the best time on your travels, download my Fit to Travel Exercise Guide.

How do you prepare your body for a journey? Are you concerned you wouldn’t be able to have a great time? What kinds of adventures interest you and how do you plan for them? Please share any stories of past adventure experiences where preparation would have helped you to enjoy yourself with ease.

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The Author

Aubrey Reinmiller is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant, Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, and Functional Aging Specialist focused on helping those over 50 to reinvent aging! She offers online small group and private fitness solutions through Aubrey authored Reinvent Aging: The Over 50 Fitness Guide to Improve Energy, Strength and Balance.

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