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With summer in full swing, many older adults will be boarding planes, trains and ships to head off for their latest travel adventure. Research shows that the aging population, with their improved health and disposable incomes are looking for trips that are stimulating culturally, socially and that include a lot of interaction and adventure. Many individuals or couples are increasing their level of physical activity in retirement and are seeking trips that will give them a challenge.

Before choosing a trip or adventure, it is a good idea to take a look at the types of activities you will be doing and match them to your skill and fitness level. For example:

  1. Easy adventures – involve bus/cross-border shopping trips or cruises
  2. Moderate adventures – may include hiking or geocaching
  3. Extreme or ‘hard’ adventures – white water rafting, ziplining, or trekking through the jungle

Every trip involves a little preparation, especially if you plan on pursuing an adventure that will push your limits. Many activities will involve walking, climbing stairs or standing for long periods of time. A good fitness program will include exercises that work the cardiovascular system, increase flexibility, and improve strength and balance.

  • Set aside a predetermined time to walk, bike, swim, or participate in an exercise class.
  • Investing in a pedometer can provide good motivation and feedback on your progress.
  • Incorporate physical activity in your life by; taking the stairs, parking further away from a mall entrance, or pacing while talking on the phone.  All of these little changes will add up to a substantial increase in your physical activity.
  • Flexibility training will come in handy for long days of sight seeing.  Stretching is also important for those who will be doing a lot of walking during their travels, experiencing long plane rides or driving for long distances.

People often think of vacations as a time to do less, when in fact many people end up doing more physical activity while away from home. If you want to make the most of your travels, develop a good level of fitness before you take off on your next adventure!

References from the SIRC Collection:

1. Cruising comforts. Active Living. November 2002;11(5):38-39.
2. Luthi W. Adventure travel: an overview. Journal On Active Aging. May 2007;6(3):38-46.
3. Patterson I. Baby Boomers and adventure tourism: the importance of marketing the leisure experience. World Leisure Journal. 2002;44(2):4-10.
4. Rogers M, Rogers N, Page P. Get ready for summer! a fitness program to prepare for vacations. Functional U. May 2007;5(3):1-8.
5. Staats S, Pierfelice L. Travel: A Long-Range Goal of Retired Women. Journal Of Psychology. September 2003;137(5):483-494. 
6. Sugerman D. The relationship of age to motivation and skill development level in outdoor adventure programs for older adults. / Comment l’age agit sur la motivation et le niveau de developpement des habiletes dans les programmes d’activites de plein air axees sur l’aventure, a l’intention des aines. / Como la edad actua sobre la motivacion y el nivel de desarrollo de las habilidades en los programas de actividades al aire libre orientados sobre la aventura y dirigidos hacia las personas mayores. Society & Leisure / Loisir & Société. Autumn 2002 2002;25(2):351-376.
7. Travel by Leisure Care: enriching lives through the fun of adventure. Journal On Active Aging. May 2007;6(3):76-79. 

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.