BY RITA HARTLEY
I’d like to take credit for the astute observation that “fitness doesn’t take a vacation”, but to be honest? I think I heard it first from our very own Jazzercise centre owner and instructor Gaby Copeland.
Sure, vacation time is on our minds and most calendars. We’ve endured a long cold winter and now that the warmer weather is here it’s time to embrace the great outdoors, travel, take some much deserved time off. Or maybe you work in landscaping or an outdoor market/live produce business, like some of my customers, and you just don’t have time to make it to all of your favourite regular Jazzercise classes. Miss a few? Okay. Miss too many? Well . . .
According to an article on self.com by Amy Marturana, taking one week off from fitness is really no biggie and might provide a good reset for body and mind. The big concern is if you’ve just started a workout program. In Marturana’s article, she quotes Steve Ball Ph.D., professor of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri, as saying, “For the beginner, the routine of exercise is a huge key, and for this person getting motivated after a week off might be more difficult.”
The experts say it’s your cardio fitness that suffers the most – and the quickest – if you stop working out. After two weeks of inactivity? Your VO2 max, which measures your ability to take in, transport and use oxygen during exercise, starts to noticeably decline. Says Tara Plusch, physiologist at NYU in that same self.com article, “It’s been shown in endurance athletes that by four weeks (of inactivity) there’s a 20% decrease in VO2.”
The more fit you are? Oh, this really sucks. The sooner you’ll notice the decline. “Older women,” says Marturana, making me cringe as I fall rapidly – kicking and screaming – into this category, “have been shown to lose muscle mass quicker than other demographic groups.”
So, if you’re traveling for pleasure or work this summer, go to jazzercise.com and find out what Jazzercise classes might be offered in that area. Most centres are delighted to have Jazzercise members participate in a few classes, without charge, just by showing a valid membership card. It’s fun to travel to a new city and meet other like-minded people, right? I often travel with at least one T-shirt or tank with the Jazzercise logo and I’ve consequently met some wonderful people from all over the world who love Jazzercise.
If Jazzercise is unavailable where you’re traveling to, you could change things up, check that your hotel/resort has a workout area. Pack workout clothes regardless and maybe go for a brisk walk or run, or perhaps rent a bike? If there’s a pool, you could swim lengths.
Kathy Buckworth offers some great suggestions – most of which involve just a little planning prior to travel – in an article for huffington.post called “Fitness Doesn’t Take a Vacation Because You Do”. I like this point that Buckworth makes about workouts and general busyness: “Make room in your schedule and make it a meeting with yourself.” It kind of reminds me about responses I’ve heard from people about setting up an RRSP savings plan. They’ll say, “No! I need that money.” And the wise investor says, “But it IS your money. It’s savings, for you, for later, when you really need it.” So, a regular workout program is like that, but it’s about investing time, in a savings program for you, and your body, for later, when you really need it.
Workout while traveling for work? You’ll have more energy to endure the long conference day. Workout while traveling for pleasure? That extra food and drink you might partake in will be less noticeable.
It’s good, too, to consider your motivation for working out. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, people who exercise to feel good stick with workouts longer than those who do it to look good. I think we all agree that a Jazzercise workout makes us feel pretty darn good, which is why, even though a busy season is upon us, we’ll somehow, some way, find time to keep coming to class.