Posts Categorised: Fitness

A beach vacation in the Philippines is one of the best ways to take a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And what better way to rejuvenate than basking under the sun on a picturesque shore? If exercising is one of the important activities in your daily schedule, the only downside to spending a few quiet days in a remote beach town is the distance it puts between you and the gym or fitness training sessions.

Most Filipino scenic resorts lack state of the art training facilities and those that offer gym services as an extra surcharge that will only increase your travel expenditure. If you’re going to stay fit away from your gym while on vacation, then this calls for a little improvising. The truth is you don’t need access to a fully stocked weight room, treadmill or other gym equipment to engage in your regular workouts while on a beach vacation. I will list 5 beach exercises you can do on vacation to avoid breaking your fitness regimen.

Start with a Warm Up

Every workout must always begin with a warm up session. This prepares the body for action and prevents injury. There are different ways to warm up depending on the goal of your workout. Classic warm up moves include lunges, toe touches, cross arm stretches, jumping jacks and high knees. A good warm up should help the joints to loosen up, get your heart pumping and stretch the muscles.

#1: Squats

Compound movements like the squat are very beneficial because they engage more than one muscle group. A simple standard squat will work the muscles that make up your calves as well as the hamstrings, glutes and quadriceps. All you need to do is get in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart then squat down and finally stand upright again to complete one repetition. Aim for at least five sets of 15-20 reps and take 20 second breaks in between segments.

#2: Burpees

Burpees offer a perfect transition from squats. They will work your arms, chest abs, and the same muscles that squats do, thus offering a full body workout.

You will begin this routine in a standing position with your feet shoulder width apart. Next, squat down and get into a push-up position by placing your hands on the floor and kicking the feet back. Perform one pushup then kick the feet back to the squatting position. Finally, stand up and jump into the air while clapping your arms overhead. Repeat this compound movement several times. Start with at least 5 burpees in a row and work your way up to 15 reps in future sets.

#3: Push Ups

Pushups are another fantastic body weight exercise you can do right on the beach without the need for any special equipment. Place a towel on the ground to keep the sand off your hands. For a good workout, attempt to complete 5 sets of 10 push up each with 30 seconds of rest in between sets.

#4: Crunches/Sit Ups

You will definitely get sand in your hair and on the back when doing crunches or sit-ups at the beach. On the plus side, these workouts will keep you from packing on unwanted belly fat while indulging in all kinds of exotic seafood during your beach vacation.

#5: Sprints

The kinds of exercises you can perform on a beach are not just limited to body-weight routines for strength training. If you want to stay aerobically fit, why not do several 30-40 meter sprints along the shore?

There you have it: 5 simple beach exercises you can do on your Philippine vacation without the need for any equipment. If the workouts mentioned above are part of your everyday fitness routine, consider breaking away from the norm by trying your hand in any available beach sport. From beach soccer and volleyball, to scuba diving, surfing, kite boarding and water skiing, there are a ton of adventurous beach sports that can keep you physically active throughout the vacation.

Because space and weight are premium nowadays when traveling, it is important to take fitness gear that is both lightweight and space conscious. Here are some items that will keep you fit while traveling, but take up little space and add almost no weight to your checked or carry-on luggage.

Yoga Mat

Not just any yoga mat, but a packable one made to be folded and not rolled so that it doesn’t take up as much space. Lay it out flat on the floor once you are at your destination. The folds will flatten out and it will be a constant reminder to get down and use it.

Plus it is a surface that you know where it has been instead of exercising on a floor that could hold any number of unwanted things. You can do several bodyweight exercising from planks to lunges, push-ups and crunches.

Yoga and Pilates are also options for some variety. If you don’t have a routine of either or both memorized, load a video or two of them on your laptop and follow along.

Resistance Bands

These are not only light and conserve on space, but they can take your bodyweight exercising to a higher level while on the road. Most come as sets with different strength bands. The stronger bands can even serve as a suspension trainer in your room or outside.

Fitness Tracker

Sometimes you just want to walk to get some exercise and explore your new destination. By wearing a fitness tracker, you’ll know your heart rate and how many steps you’ve taken and a whole host of other fitness information. Be sure to wear it on travel days too as you would be surprised at the number of steps you get just getting to your departure gate.

Jump Rope

The lowly jump rope is still one of the best cardio workouts that works both the upper and lower body, not to mention increasing flexibility and coordination. It fits the fitness equipment travel criteria of being light and not taking up much space. You can either jump on a smooth floor in your hotel room, around the perimeter of the pool or on a flat surface outside.

These four pieces of equipment take up little room, weigh almost nothing and can provide you with a wide variety of bodyweight exercises. All items can be purchased through a local sports equipment store or from the provided Amazon links. Not only will it help straighten out the kinks of traveling, but will also help clear your mind and keep you in shape.

Just as exercising in weather colder than you are used to can potentially cause some health issues, weather warmer than usual can cause some health issues too … some of which can be life-threatening, namely heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke – the last one being the most dangerous.

To prevent being a heat casualty, there are some things to watch out for when exercising in hot weather. You will need to pay attention to these tips when you travel to the Philippines; especially if you are coming from a colder climate like the USA or Europe.

Time of Day

It is the coolest early in the day, so plan your outdoor exercising in the early morning. In many locations, as the temperature and humidity rises during the day, it becomes harder for your body to rid itself of heat through the evaporation of sweat. Because the air is already humid, the sweat on the skin can’t evaporate as fast and cool you down as much, thus increasing your chances for overheating and a heat injury.

Stay Hydrated

Getting dehydrated in hot weather is a recipe for disaster, but can easily happen. Water normally is the drink of choice, but in really hot weather you can lose a lot of electrolytes too along with water, so a drink containing electrolytes may work better to keep hydrated and the body in balance. Gatorade® or any number of sports drinks work well in hot weather.

Dress for Success

Dress in light-colored, lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made out of a moisture-wicking or dri-weave material to get as much moisture (and heat) off of your skin as you can.

Be Smart

While you may be a fitness guru (or at least think you are), if you are not used to exercising in hot weather, you may want to reduce the intensity along with the duration of your workout. It normally takes at least 14 days for your body to adjust to a new climate. Go at a light to moderate rate during this adjustment period and listen to your body.

Wear Sunscreen

While advisable to wear long sleeve shirts and shorts, be sure to apply sunscreen to exposed skin if you are going to be out when the sun is starting to heat up the day. Sunburned skin is not only very uncomfortable, but it doesn’t get rid of body heat through evaporation as well as non-burned skin. Also don’t forget to apply sunscreen on the tips of your ears, nose and be sure and wear a hat that shades your face and sunglasses.

Have a Backup Plan

For days when it is just too hot to exercise, take your workout indoors where it is air conditioned. If traveling. opt to use the hotel or resort’s fitness center or get a day membership at a local gym.

Use these tips to reduce your chances of suffering a heat injury. Not only can they be dangerous, but when once suffered, you are more susceptible to another one again. Exercising in hot weather is not something to be taken lightly. Be safe; exercise smart!

Actually the amount is miniscule, regardless of what your scale may show and here is the reason why – water retention. When on vacation, we tend to eat saltier foods. Because our body wants to level out the amount of sodium, it tends to hang on to water to keep the ppm at a safe level. Once back home and on your normal diet lower in sodium, the excess water and sodium will excrete out as urine.

Another reason why we retain water is climate change. Since you will be vacationing in a place that is hotter than what you are used to in the US or Europe, your body will retain fluids in the form of swelling in the hands and feet. If you stayed long enough for your body to acclimate, the swelling would go down, but it takes at least 14 days for that to happen.

A third reason for retaining water is eating more carbs than you are used to. When carbs are digested, they are turned into a sugar called glycogen and stored in the muscles. Because there are 3 molecules of water for every molecule of glycogen, and you are storing more glycogen than normal, you will retain more water.

So even though your scale may show a perceived weight gain of 3 to 5 pounds after a week’s vacation, your real increase in mass is probably around 1 pound. The rest of the gain you’ll lose fast once home.

Most people don’t maintain their same level of exercising while on vacation, and eat more than normal, but don’t fret. The tightness you feel in your clothes is only temporary, so have fun while on vacation. As far as a decrease in your fitness level … it takes at least a month of no exercising to have an appreciable decrease.

Vacation Tips

People tend to go on an extreme diet before going on vacation in hopes of losing a few pounds, because they know they will gain a few while gone. The problem is the body senses the reduction of calories as famine, so it becomes more efficient and burns fewer calories. Instead eat normally so your body is burning calories normally.

As part of eating healthy, you should be intuitive to your body’s clues as far as when hungry and when full. You’ll get these same cues while on vacation. All you have to do is heed them sensibly.

Don’t deprive yourself of food you really want. If you want to have that decedent dessert, have it. Just be sure to include it in your daily maintenance calorie count. That might mean having one or two fewer drinks during the day, or maybe not eating dessert at lunch too.

Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and one of the best ways to get around when on vacation in the Philippines. Not only do you get to see places you wouldn’t otherwise see if you took public transportation or part of a group in a van, but you’ll burn a whole a lot more calories (to offset the calories in those drinks with the little umbrellas in them). And you just never know where walking will take you; you might see something that requires further exploring thus increasing your number of steps. For your safety, just always be aware of your surroundings and never walk alone in unfamiliar areas.

To know just how many steps you are getting, and if you are close to your daily step goal or not, wear a pedometer, or one of the newer accelerometers, from the time you get up until you go to bed. Many people establish a goal of 10,000 steps per day. While this number may seem daunting at first, it is not that hard to attain if you count each step you take all day long.

If your room or places you visit are above ground floor, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. The steps all count and it uses different muscles than walking on flat surfaces.

One great form of walking is on the beach. There are many fantastic beaches in the Philippines. We have no shortage of beaches. Regardless if you are walking in soft or wet sand, it will kick your butt! If the beach is clean and free of debris, consider walking barefoot. It uses different muscles than walking wearing footwear.

Along that same line, trail walking (in footwear) also uses different muscles because of the unevenness of the trail and having to step  over or around rocks and boulders. We also have many trails in the Philippines that lead to breathtaking vistas. Be sure you have ankle support, like high-top shoes or hiking boots so that you don’t sprain an ankle.

If you do have to take public transportation, get off a stop or two from the stop closest to your venue and walk in the rest of the way. Same on the return trip.

Walking while on vacation doesn’t seem like fitness training at all. With all the new sights and sounds encountered while exploring on foot, you most likely won’t realize just how many steps you are getting until you look at your step counter.

While you may eat and drink more than normal while on vacation, walking is a good way to burn calories and keep weight gain at bay.

Traveling to the Philippines from the USA or Europe will definitely give you jet jag. Because of the long flight and time zone difference, it is important to have a strategy for getting over jet lag quickly so that you can make the most of your vacation.

Before talking about exercising when experiencing jet lag, let’s first define what it is. Basically, it is an interruption to our biological clock – what controls us waking up and going to sleep, among other biological functions – known as the circadian rhythm. It most often occurs when rapidly traveling across as little as two time zones. If left to recover on your own without any type of intervention, it can take up to nine days to get your body back in synch. Generally speaking, it takes about a day per hour of time zone change for recovery.

Our title question goes much deeper than that. For example, the time of day we exercise affects it as well as exercise consistency before and while traveling.

UCLA did a study awhile back on mice and found their circadian cycles could be adjusted based on the time of day they were exercised. Exercising early in the morning shifted their heart rate and body temperature to an earlier time; exercising late in the day shifted it to a later time.

If this same results holds true in humans, then we would benefit from exercising early in the morning if we are flying east and later in the afternoon or early evening if heading west. Actually follow-on studies using humans this theory to be true. So if you know the direction you are heading, adjust your exercise schedule well ahead of your travel plans, so your biological clock is pre-set ahead of your travel.

Amherst College did a study on humans that showed regular exercise – regardless of when done – helped recover from jet lag quicker. In this case, it appeared the rhythmic schedule of exercise put the biological clock in sync to a daily routine. As applied to diminishing jet lag, participating in a regular exercise program at the same time every day prior to flying and maintaining that schedule around the same time each day once back on the ground in your new location will help keep the body in tune with the time of day. In other words, it associates the time of day with exercising, thus making it easier to acclimate to your new time zone.

Another study out of Brazil, spanning over 20 years, found that regular exercise turns back our biological clocks keeping us younger than we really are. Research has also found that younger people recover faster from jet lag than older folks.

Study conclusions recommend keeping to an exercise schedule prior to traveling and once back on the ground. The act of exercising not only makes you younger than you really are but keeps your body in synch with the time of day – both making it easier to recover from jet lag.


About Maria

Maria Peña is people connector. She created Real Pinay to connect foreigners with authentic Filipinas for friendship, romance, and perhaps even marriage.





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