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Do you try to get in shape before traveling to Europe?

Do you try to get in shape before traveling to Europe?

Old May 31st, 2004, 02:27 PM
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Do you try to get in shape before traveling to Europe?

We are planning a trip next spring to include Paris, Bruges, Amsterdam and possibly Switzerland. After reading guidebooks about the cities I can tell that we will need to have some good endurance to do our sightseeing. (I know that Metros are available) Does anyone try to get in good walking shape so they won't poop out on their trip? We are all in our early 30's.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:31 PM
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..you are in your 30s!..unless couchpotatos certainly not necessary unless you plan to do some real hiking...just be sure you have comfortable well broken in shoes.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:33 PM
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I'd count on walking 6-10 miles per day. If that's a problem, start working on it now.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:34 PM
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I would at least try to get in walking shape. On my last trip, my travel partner (just 34) would poop out halfway through the day. I would have to take her back to the hotel, and then I would go back out again. She probably missed a lot by pooping out! Not to mention, when she was done with her nap a lot of stores were about to close so she couldn't max out her shopping time.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:37 PM
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We are in our 60's and walk lots here in Dallas even in summer.
We still get a bit tired on day one or two in San Miguel de Allende, Mx @ 6500 ft if it is really warm.
Stay hydrated and avoid lots of wine for a day or two.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:49 PM
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If you plan on visiting the Swiss Alps, you need to be in decent shape because some of those trails are steep, but rewarding.

Walking around Paris, which gets addictive quickly, can take some endurance. But nothing like what you need for a Swiss mountain trail.

For example, at age 69 I rode my bike 15 miles at a time several times a week. That was barely enough to prepare for some of the steeper trails. I must admit, I did better at 65.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 02:50 PM
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Thanks for the comments! For travelbunny: Yes, we are in our 30's. But unfortunately we live in a metro area which relies upon cars for travel.Because the Austin area is very spread out we don't do the same amount of walking on a daily basis as someone might do in Boston or New York City. The comment on being able to walk 6-10 miles was exactly what I am looking for. I am paying too much money to miss out on things because I wasn't in proper shape.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:00 PM
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If you are relatively active, you should not need to 'train' - unless you are planning on hiking. On European trips, we usually walk 10 miles a day, but we do enjoy partaking in the afternoon siesta. Weather permitting, we enjoy sitting under a shady tree in a park, watching locals stroll hand in hand. Alternatively, sitting in a cafe can do wonders for recharging your batteries, as well. These, I find to be as much of a part of the travelling experience as touring museums and churches. Enjoy!
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:01 PM
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About a week before our last European trip, we spent a long weekend in Vegas, where you also have to do lots of walking. It served as a great warm-up! We also walked several miles per day in Italy.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:02 PM
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It depends on how active you usually are. Here in New York we typically walk everywhere - unless we're in a hurry. On weekends we think nothing of walking 4/5 miles windowshopping and browsing to work off the brunch calories.

But if all you usually do is stroll at the mall - yes you should probably make a plan to get in shape. To really enjoy europe you should be able to walk at least 5 miles per day and do a mile comfortably in 20 minutes.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:05 PM
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....Hope i didnt sound rude..the explanation of a texas suburban life style allows me to understand your concerns..so start walking and enjoy! I never had trouble walking around paris ..even when hugely with child..If you plan to do anyhiking in Switzerland, as opposed to just sightseeing you really must get busy..
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:13 PM
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I don't know what it is but here at home I b***h and moan every morning on my 2 or 3 mile walk...but in paris or London or elsewhere , 6 -10 miles a day, even in dress shoes is nothing!
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:17 PM
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I agree that you will walk WAY more on your trip than what you describe at home. I think 5-7 miles per day is a minimum guesstimate for touring European cities. And if you plan any hiking in Switzerland than these miles might be even more rigorous. At the very least, I'd suggest 3+ months in advance get yourself to a gym and onto a treadmill on a regular basis and build up your distance.

To better answer the original question from Tulips, yes I do try to get in extra-good shape before each trip.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:18 PM
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Ilovetulips-
This is a great question!

I recommend "training" in the shoes you plan to wear on the trip.

I am a walker/hiker, so I'm unafraid of the miles, but on a trip to San Francisco, I took a pair of Eccos as my walking shoes and regretted it. I found that though they were comfortable on my foot (no blisters, etc.) they didn't give me the support I needed for long periods of time on city streets.

Now I always 'practice' with my shoes before a big trip. As you say, who wants to waste the time and $ with sore feet. Have a great trip
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:30 PM
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A few tips....

1. wear shoes that are confortable and are worn in. You do not want a blister.

2. if you get tired stop at a cafe for a 15 minutes and get a drink or bring a small bottle of water with you.

As for getting tired, you are going to be there in the spring so it should not be super hot. I think exhaustion sets in more when you are doing summer trips with a lot of walking. We were in Italy last year in early August (during the heat wave) and site seeing was tough but not ridiculous. It may have slowed us down a little but nothing significant. The funny thing is that you never really notice how far you walked until you have to walk back to the hotel.

I am 30 and my wife is going to be 29 in a few days. We are pretty active and go to the gym a few times a week and walk alot on during our daily travels to and from work.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:40 PM
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Wow! 6-10 miles in dress shoes? Sorry, but I could never handle that!

On a typical trip to a big European capital, I do walk about 10 miles a day, but in comfortable shoes, and with a few "café stops" for refreshment. No problem.

As for training, no, I do nothing special in advance except make mental lists of all the fabulous things I'm going to eat when I get there after I've walked myself silly. I'm in my early 50s and get regular exercise and eat well, so I don't feel the need to do anything special to get ready for a trip. Sure, there are days in Europe when I fall into bed especially tired, but it's a good tired, like after a particularly good workout. You can always soak your feet in the bidet, too

If you're not fit and can't handle 6-10 miles on cobblestones and cement or hiking trails or whatever, then I think you definitely should embark upon a training program. I've traveled a few times with people who can't keep up a decent walking pace and who need to take naps and who are generally sluggish and out of shape, and it can really make a difference in what they are able to "take in" during a trip.

Be as fit as you can when you get there, whether it's by training in advance or whatever. If you're not in the best of shape to begin with, this is a great excuse to start working out. It will also pay out in less jetlag, better sleep when you're there, and of course the ability to carry more goodies home with you.

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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:46 PM
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A word of advice from someone who used to be your age. Don't let yourself get too far out of shape in the first place, it is way to hard to catch up.

Get a home gym, lift weights, do yoga, buy a tread mill or elliptical walker, I live in LA where we are known for not walking, so I have to improvise.

Actually in my neighborhood it is not that safe to walk alone after dark otherwise I would walk more to keep in shape.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:52 PM
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I concurr with all that is said about walking 6-10 miles per day in Paris...there are also the stairs to consider. Especially if you're taking the metro, you'll be climbing many flights of stairs, up and down. I found that most stations didn't have escalalators. If you're changing lines, be prepared to take a few flights up and down between each change.

Have fun!
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Old May 31st, 2004, 03:57 PM
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Thanks for all of the great responses. I got out of yoga for a while but they recently opened a new yoga studio where I live. I also plan to get in better walking shape prior to my trip. Switzerland is still up in the air, but we will definately be visiting Paris, Bruges, and A-dam. I just want to be prepared physically to have the time of my life!
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Old May 31st, 2004, 04:02 PM
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climbing stairs is a great way to keep in shape. I never take the elevators.
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