So, you’ve bought your tickets and the dates are set. You’ve finally gotten up the gumption to give yourself the trip of a lifetime: a hike around magical Macchu Picchu, a kayaking trip on the Dalmatian Coast, or just a gentle exploration of gorgeous Cinque Terre, Italy. Let’s consider preparation.

For those who don’t make adventure travel a way of life like I do, preparing for a trip like this can seem a bit overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to be an uber athlete to enjoy a bit of exercise. Nor do you have to train for days to enjoy any of these or other locations.

It does make sense to prepare, however. Many of us have spent a lot of time in desk jobs, or we sit a lot in our daily lives. That means that a three-mile hike up a hill on the gorgeous Italian coast might be a bit challenging.

The last thing you want is to be so sore that you spend three days in your hotel room getting cabbaged to forget the pain. While that makes a funny story, it’s not how you want to spend your time in Italy.

So let’s consider what will help you get ready to truly enjoy your time in the world’s gorgeous places.


The simplest prep you can do is walk. Most of the world walks, a lot. Not only is this vastly more fun, but you also see more, and by the end of the day, you have really earned that pasta and wine dinner.

Start slowly and do a low mileage. First walk around the block, then a few blocks. Then more. Pretty soon you’re doing far more than you ever dreamed you could do. Whether on a treadmill or outside, it makes no difference. The point is to walk. If you can add hills, that’s even better.

About Those Hills

Here’s how to do hills exercise: Find a local stadium and walk the stairs. Or use the stairway of your apartment building. Choose the stairs wherever you go.

I use a place called Red Rocks, an outdoor amphitheater. Start where you are. What if you can only do 10 steps? Do ten steps. Then stop. Go home. Go back and then do 15. After a while it gets easier.

About Those Arms

I sat on a plane to Spain next to a couple in their 60s who were gushing about kayaking on their next adventure trip. When I asked if they did any exercising to prepare, they looked at me in dumb silence.

As both a whitewater and sea kayaker, I can guarantee you that without at least a little advanced work, even a few hours on a flat lake could leave your shoulders and arms in agony by day’s end. It’s hard to sleep with angry arms.

Here are some basic arm exercises you can do either at the gym or at home. You can just as easily use small dumbbells. You can use a chair to do the dips in the house.

These exercises go a very long way towards getting rid of those dreaded arm wings as well. Not only can we paddle, we can perhaps proudly return to sleeveless tops and gowns. You’re not going to get overly muscular – that’s a myth. But reduced paddling pain, and toned arms? Where do we sign up?

Prepare for Potential Injuries

No matter how well we train, there is always the possibility that we will turn an ankle. These days, the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) technique has been overturned by the very doctor who coined the term.

When I tore ligaments while hiking Macchu Pichhu, I simply wrapped the swollen ankle with RockTape and kept on hiking. The swelling promptly went down.

I recommend two critical pieces to your medical kit: a supply of RockTape, and a container of a muscle cream like EFAC. Learn how to wrap the tape before you go. The cream provides instant, powerful relief for sore muscles.

A Sense of Humor

Never leave home without your sense of humor. It is the single, most important piece of ‘equipment’ to take on any trip.

I’ve survived life-threatening injuries in the most remote parts of the world, getting wickedly lost in Africa, and saying absolutely positively the wrong thing in front of the wrong people because of my sense of humor.

It is my most essential piece of survival gear. When we laugh, we allow. And that’s the whole point of the adventure.

What adventures have you undertaken that required strength and endurance? What changes are you making in your life to stay strong and healthy in your 60s? Please share in the comments below.

Let's Have a Conversation!