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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, 04:10 PM
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I don't think you need to do anything in particular to get in shape for walking up to 10 miles a day in cities and towns. I don't do anything to train for that type of trip, and it just feels normal and natural to be that active, walking around hill towns for hours each day. When I return it's hard to adjust to sitting all day at work. Physical inactivity can be exhausting, and a little exercise is energizing.

However, when I took a few one-week "walking tours" (really hiking tours, but not really challenging, strenuous ones) several years ago, I did try to get in shape. Hiking on very steep uphill trails or for many hours on rough, rocky terrain is very very different from just walking on relatively level sidewalks or country paths. I tried to get in shape by taking long walks and by working out now and then on an EFX elliptical trainer machine. However, long walks where I live are too easy, since it is just flat or mildly hilly, so walking 15 miles on a canal towpath obviously does not prepare me for a 1/2 mile steep climb on one of these hiking tours. I didn't really prepare enough, since I'd still get pretty out of breath on steep uphill climbs, and I felt the need to be overly cautious when descending rocky paths fit only for goats. But still the hikes were doable, and I'm a lot older than 30's, many pounds heavier than I was in 30's, was never athletic, and normally spend too much time sitting.

What you're planning should not require any training at all, but it will require comfortable, supportive shoes.
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Old May 31st, 2004, 04:11 PM
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I agree with Blue Swimmer, it's a good idea to get used to walking in whatever shoes you plan to wear most of the time on your trip, AND I will add, carry a loaded large purse or back pack when you "practice-walk". Whatever you'll use on your trip to carry water bottle, camera, umbrella, guidebook, that type of stuff. If you're not used to it, lugging that stuff around can really drag you down by the end of the day.

Another thought: A couple of months before my first trip to Europe (London for a week) was when I began my still daily habit of taking a multivitamin. If you don't already take daily vitamins, it really does make a difference! You won't notice that difference, though, until someday, for some reason, you miss taking the vitamins for a couple of days in a row.
Old May 31st, 2004, 04:11 PM
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I'm also in my fifties and while I would consider myself in pretty good shape, what got to me were the steep Metro steps.

Especially at the end of the day, when both arms were loaded down with all those absolutely-had-to-have-it purchases.

Every now and then, when I'd chance upon a Metro station with an honest-to-God escalator, I nearly melted with relief.

(Warning: Never do the honey shop and L'Occitane the same day. That all my bottles and tins made it back to the hotel intact is a tribute to the heroic handles of an extra large Longchamp bag and months of pumping two pound dumbells.)

Oh, and my feet have not yet forgotten the joy of climbing uphill over those crooked, upended flagstones of Pere Lachaise.

In training for that, might I suggest sitting in a straight backed chair twirling your ankles in the air with buckets of sand attached?
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Old May 31st, 2004, 07:45 PM
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I agree with Sea Urchin. If you're only in your 30's and concerned about being in shape for Europe, you should be in shape for all time. Do it now, it's easier to lose wieght when you are young. Forego that eclair and extra scoop of sugar. Know that when you get to Paris you'll more than likely eat the best pastries you've ever had, so hold off until you get there.
Enjoy your body now. Not as a food factory but for the marvelous machine that it is and can be.
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Old Jun 1st, 2004, 05:48 PM
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Seriously, ilovetulips, don't worry! Even if travel does cause your feet to expand in your shoes, I promise your vision and spirit will expand far, far more!

But I gotta say, mcgeezer, I'm not at all sure my body was EVER a marvelous machine.

My "machine" would be more accurately described as a clattering contraption held together with whatever the physiological equivalent of duct tape might be.

Determination, maybe?
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