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Exercise and Fitness

Out of Shape

08/03/2010

Question:

I am going to be going on vacation in a month and I realized that I am too out of shape to be able to enjoy my vacation!

I have a sit-down job and a long commute and get almost no exercise. On my vacation I will need to do a lot of walking and I want to be able to do it without getting tired and winded or having my feet hurt.

What is the best way for me to get into good enough shape to enjoy my vacation a month from now? I just started walking 1/2 hr every day before I get ready for work and realized how out of shape I really am.

Can I do it in a month, or should I cancel my vacation plans? :-(

Answer:

A lot depends on: 1) What physical demands will be placed on your body and 2) your current level of fitness. There is no way for me to tell you whether you should cancel your vacation. What I can tell you is how best to prepare for all the walking.

The first thing to do is get a new pair of walking shoes. I always recommend going to a specialty store where the employees are trained to fit you with the appropriate shoes. It will be more costly but well worth the money. The right pair of shoes will make your physical activity feel easier, more comfortable, and reduce your risk for overuse injuries. You should also be wearing shoes that are appropriate for walking on your vacation. Sometimes the cutest shoes are not the ones that are appropriate for an all day excursion on your feet.

You have done a great job by walking every day before work. Continue doing that, and start walking 30 minutes every day after work too. At the end of your second walk, do 10 minutes of total body stretching. After the first week, consider how you feel. If you feel good, then increase your after-work walk to 45-60 minutes every 2-3 days. If 30 minutes, twice a day is still challenging, then stick with that for another week. Essentially, you should titrate your walking according to how you feel. Do not take a day off unless you are truly fatigued and/or sore. Do not increase your duration or speed unless you feel good. The more you walk, the better prepared you will be to have a fun vacation!

For more information:

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Response by:

Rebecca  Nguyen, MS Rebecca Nguyen, MS
Manager of the Faculty and Staff Fitness Program
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University