Stay Active Wherever you Go
I am in Costa Rica on a family vacation. Many people have trouble staying active and eating right while on vacations, but I feel as though my family and I really understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle and can implement it everywhere we go. On this trip are my parents, my two sisters (Trina and Theresa), my nephew (Justin), and my boyfriend (Stew). Seven of us in a foreign country, with beautiful weather, how can we not be physically active?!?
Day 1 - January 25
The Flight - Tips on Airport Food
To get to Costa Rica we flew from Philly to D.C. to San Jose, Costa Rica. It was a 7-hour flight including layovers. With this we walked around, carrying our bags around the airports to our gates, and had to make sure we got something to eat and drink during our travels. Anytime there were stairs, we walked up and down- instead of taking the escalator or elevator (since we didn’t have too many carry ons). I carried a filtered – reusable water bottle, so I could fill it up in the airport (It is important that you stay hydrated, even when you travel). We left early in the morning in Philly and did not need any food, however when we arrived to D.C. we had to have breakfast. We found an airport restaurant that had eggs, and Stew and I ordered a vegetable omelet.
It can be tough to keep a healthy diet while walking around the airport because most places are fast food style. You need to decide what you would like, and figure out how to make it healthy. Do you want an egg? Try to avoid an egg sandwich with cheese, and ask for eggs mixed with veggies either scrambled or omelets style. Do you want a sandwich? Try to stop in the airport that makes them for you rather then one that has them already prepared, if you are not in too much of a hurry. You can also grab fruits that some convenience stores offer – bars and nuts are good snacks as well for the plane ride.
A good idea for the plane trips, to help maintain your home dieting, would be to pack your snacks and meals for your trip. Sandwiches, a salad, fruits, bars, nuts. This is a good way to keep from breaking your eating habits.
When we arrived, obviously the first thing we wanted to do was to explore and see everything around us, so in order to do that we walked around the resort, “Los Suenos.” The first day our physical activity came from walking. For the majority of the trip we walked everywhere we needed to go.
Day 2 - January 26
The sun came up and Stew, Trina, Theresa, Justin, and I decided to start our morning off with a run. We all went in separate directions, but started together. Stew and I ran down to a marina, through the pathways along the shoreline to the beach. When we arrived to the beach we switched from running to walking. Exploring the Costa Rican local life while enjoying a walk/run en la playa.
To get the food we had to walk about 2 miles to the supermarket to get what we needed for the night.
Stew and I cooked dinner for my family – Stuffed red peppers with a fresh salad. The peppers were stuffed with beans and rice – onions and garlic, and tomato sauce. The salad was made with lettuce, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), tomatoes, red onions, olives, ground pepper, and for the dressing I made guacamole with fresh avocados.
Day 3 - January 27
ZIP LINING (Canopy)
What is it Working
Zip Lining is a great activity! It’s exciting and a dare devil “sport.” Believe it or not, you have muscles working in your body during this adventurous ride.
Your target muscles are your core muscles - abdominals and hip flexors.
When you are strapped into your harness, you need to position your body so that you are a “human arrow”. This will allow for you to travel fast down the chord. In order to position yourself you lean back, keeping your abs tight, and bring your legs up to flex your hips - you need to try to hold yourself like this at each zip line station.
After Zip Lining we spent the rest of the day in the pool. This is a great activity because we are constantly walking around, swimming, and playing games in the water. For about 15 minutes we did water aerobics - which was a lot of fun. I directed them while they did the exercises in the pool. We had the music going and did non-stop conditioning.
Our workout consisted of high knees, sumo knees, butt kicks, squats, lunges, shuffling side to side, and more.
Working out in the pool is great for everyone! Especially people with joint and back problems.
During the day we had snacks, like tortilla chips and salsa, fruits, etc.
So for dinner we did not need much. We prepared red beans and rice.
Day 4 - January 28
Starting the Day off Right
Stew woke up early this morning ran 4 miles (down and back) to the supermarket. Swam a few laps in the pool. When everyone woke up, Stew, Theresa, Justin, and my dad, joined me in a fitness bootcamp to start our day off right - Active!
We jogged 800 meters (1/2 mile) to the beach and did a 20 minute workout using our body weight, rocks on the beach, and logs on the beach. We did jumping jacks, squats, high knees, push-ups, step ups, bicep curls and shoulder presses, and more. It got everybodies hearts pumping, and kept their bodies moving. It was a great superset of exercises for a short duration. Our cool down was a speed walk back to our apartment 800 meters.
Surfing is an exciting and fun activity to get involved with. My dad, Justin, Stew, and I rented boards, and had a friend give us lessons in Jaco Beach.
It was a beautiful day to learn.
Surfing is a fun activity that really challenges your core and works your arms and legs.
Your core is challenged because you are focusing on balancing on your board during the ride. You start in a prone position (lying belly down on the board) to a quick standing position, engaging your core to keep yourself on the board during the wave ride.
Your arms are working (Rotator cuff in the shoulders, and your biceps and triceps) because when you paddle, you are reaching for the water in front and pulling through to get yourself moving.
Your legs are working when you stand on the board. Once you are in the right position on your board, your hips and knees are going to be flexed in a squatting position - you want your center of gravity as close to the board as possible to help with balance.
Day 5 - January 29
Hiking in Search of Monos (Monkeys)
I had been dying to see the native monkeys of Costa Rica sometime on my adventure here. So this morning the first thing that Stew and I did was hike. A great morning hike up the Mountain in Los Suenos. It took about an hour and a half - up and back.
[[ It was a steep road, which was a great workout because it challenged our leg muscles due to the drastic incline.]]
We kept our eyes opened for these famous monkeys, but unfortunatly we did not see them on this hike. Lucky for us however, we found a beautiful view on top of the mountain - What great motivation!
When we returned to the house, everyone decided to go to Emanuel Antonio National Park, which was about an hour ride away. Here we would see monkeys, sloths, raccoons, and beautiful birds, with a 20 minute walk through the park, to a beautiful clear water beach - Ending our hike with a refreshing dip in the ocean.
(We did find monkey’s this time, along with 2 sloths in motion, and a couple families of raccoons.) It was a great day - Two good hikes with beautiful things to see.
Day 6 - January 30
Moped Adventure with My daily walking goal
Today Stew and I decided to rent a moped and drive around Herradura, Costa Rica. It felt great to not have to rely on the taxi’s and buses to get us around. We drove up to Hermosa Beach (the #1 surfing spot in Costa Rica), drove back down to Jaco, to the resort, and more. It was a blast. But with all this driving around, Stew and I still walked around a lot. We reached beyond the daily goal of 10,000 steps (using my fit bit to keep track), which was good.
Day 7 - January 31
Our last day in Costa Rica. Our last and final activity was kayaking. My dad, Justin, and I kayaked 2 hours out and back to an island off the shore line of Herradura. It was a beautiful site to see and a great way to end our active vacation.
No matter where I go, I always find something active to do. It is not hard to live an active lifestyle whether at home, or traveling - you just have to have the drive to remain active in whatever you do. No excuses, just go out and have fun!
Jenna Webster, ACSM, ACE – Personal trainer specializing in empower busy women to live healthy and active lifestyles!”