Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Instruction: The Ultimate Vacation Workout

Here's how it works. Your holiday travels to a coastal region will take you away from the gym for two entire weeks. Given the fact that you will be eating anything you want while executing very little mental activity, there is a strong risk that both your body and your brain will atrophy in two-part harmony.

This is not desirable. It is best to retain muscle mass in at least one of these dimensions, and for the sake of avoiding cruelty I am suggesting that you give yourself a break and allow the mind a temporary hiatus from higher-self development. That leaves us with the issue of the body, which begins to soften the moment you cross the state line and weakens even more in direct proportion to the number of miles between yourself and said gym.

Facing this dilemma while wandering the lovely beaches of Florida just recently, I came up with a workable solution. I jogged along the shoreline, taking in the sights, sounds and smells of a nearly perfect world, until I reached the half-way point of the distance I had chosen to traverse. There, not looking around to see who was watching, I plopped myself into the thick sand and promptly did 15 push-ups. I performed two more identical sets, but in between did several stretching exercises as well. After the last of the push-ups, I concluded with a set of crunches.

Then, pleased with my efforts and glistening with sweat and sand, I trudged my way back to the shoreline and waded into the ocean. There, the foamy waves cascaded over me and cleansed me of all itchiness and debris, and I emerged feeling healthy and alive. I ran back to re-join my family, which was sharing joy, fun and a season in the sun.

I repeated this nearly every day I was at the beach across a two-week expanse. I ate whatever I wanted, and felt no guilt. And the only mental activity I allowed myself was reading a couple novels, writing a few blogs and checking Facebook. Okay, I guess only the novels and the blogs count in this regard...


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