Vacation Lifestyle

I'm having a serious bummer of a week. I just returned from a week's vacation in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, and I miss it so much. I ate S'Mores, did a little hiking, ate a donut, relaxed by the campfire, ran a little, ate pancakes, had some tasty coffee drinks, ordered a giant plate of nachos for dinner and... just enjoyed life. Yeah, that's right. I didn't pay much attention to my food or drink choices, didn't do my normal hours of training, and just relaxed. (And I didn't even gain any weight!)

Vacation has taught me some things that I can carry into rest of the year. The true key to a healthy lifestyle may be simpler than what we think.

Our bodies are amazingly designed. When we experience danger, our body's natural response is fight or flight-- very basically, our heart rates increase and we are poised for battle (or escape). Amazing if we're being chased by a t-rex. Not amazing when we're frustrated by a driver that cuts us off. Most of us live in a too high state of stress-- we have deadlines at work, a constant flood of pings and dings alerting us to incoming messages, calls, appointments and other things that clamor for our attention. It's important that we plan some downtime. Probably more downtime than we think we need. Check out this video on the effect of stress from TedEd:

In everything. I have this habit of going all in, no matter what it is. This is one of the reasons why I have to pretty strictly follow a running plan. If not, I will quickly run myself into some type of overuse injury. (Because if running 3 miles, 3 days a week is good, then running 6 miles, 6 days a week HAS to be better. It's not.) And of course there must be moderation in eating. If you know you're treating yourself to the most amazing freshly made donut later, then now you have a very sensible salad for lunch. And you don't eat a donut every day. Or pair it with a frothy, sugary beverage. At the campfire, you eat one S'More, not 10. Savor it. Enjoy it. But be sensible and moderate.

Practicing moderation is good, but sacrifice can be better. Life is full of trade-offs. We really can't have it all. You can't fill yourself with garbage food (fried, sugar-laden, processed stuff) and live a long active life. Consider having only 1 cigarette a day vs. an entire pack. Moderation, but no good. I ate some true vacation food on vacation. I knew I was going for a donut and lots of samples of beef jerky, fudge, chips and salsa and other bits of junk food, so instead of the burger and fries at lunch, I did a salad.

Move your body. Go outside and breathe fresh air (this will help with that relaxation thing). Find some different things to do. Hike, kayak, swim, bike, do yoga. You might be on a mostly sedentary vacation, but find some different things to do that will challenge you mentally and physically. Doing something different not only provides a necessary stimulation for your body, but also for your mind.

Laugh a whole lot. And spend more time with the people you care about.


Popular Posts