I begin this post by admitting that I am an avid runner. Call me a masochist, but I enjoy the pain. More importantly, I reap the rewards. Running helps me stay in shape. Period.
So, for those of you who hate running and are about to stop reading, just wait. I admit I like to run. But my husband does not. To quote, “Cardio kills gains.” But running doesn’t have to be painful. And even though he’s not a daily runner, he does enjoy jogging when we are somewhere new.
Visiting DC? Put on your cutest jogging clothes and tour the Mall through the eyes of a runner. Bring your headphones and listen to “Born in the USA” while you blast past Lincoln’s Memorial. For us, not only is it good exercise, it’s a time to bond and sightsee together. And, of course, if we have Hercules with us, he runs, too. (Though you need to be careful of temperature and distance if you’re bringing your dog. If they aren’t used to running, it might not be a safe choice.)
My first night in a new place, I leave the curtains open and let the sunrise naturally wake me, easing the jetlag. I get up, brush my teeth, and go for a jog. (No need to make it a race or a marathon). I try to find an inspirational playlist: patriotic tunes in DC, Yodeling in the Swiss Alps. And I run. I keep my eyes open and get to watch the locals go about their daily lives. It helps me identify places around the hotel I want to visit: delicious-looking bakery, a curiosity shop, or maybe a beautiful church.
The morning run allows me to immerse myself in the new surroundings. I avoid using a map. Instead, I try to remember where I went and retrace my steps home. Or, if it’s an organized city, I make it a long, complete circle. There’s no distance or time limit. If I’m not feeling it, it might just be a mile or two. And sometimes, when inspiration hits, I go much further than planned.
This might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I challenge you to give it a try on your next vacation. Not every hotel has a gym. And most aren’t really gyms but closets with a few weights. If you work hard for your figure, don’t let it go, especially if you’re planning on eating and drinking the local fare.
And if you’re not big into exercise, take this as an opportunity to do something for you. Life is hectic. Kids, jobs, bills. They all take a large portion of your 24-hour day. So when on vacation, carve out that desperately needed “me time,” and take a run around town, along the beach, or through the highlands. Anywhere that moves you. Because vacations are supposed to be fun!