Summer vacations might be one of my favorite things in life; exploring a new part of the world, escaping from the hectic day to day grind, and enjoying the simple pleasures of life with fun activities. However, as much as I love to travel and temporarily abandon the norm, I still need to keep some of my healthy and active habits intact to keep myself sane. I just got back from a fabulous vacation in Ecuador and wanted to share a few fun antidotes I incorporated on this vacation to lessen the sting when returning back to my “health reality.”
Jennifer’s Vacation Diary: Part I Nix All Day Lounge Fests For Play
Participate in Activities
Sounds simple but many people think of vacationing as lounging on a chaise by the ocean sipping a piña colada - day after day after day. However, too much of that lounging can leave you feeling gross and lethargic and not wanting to do much of anything, wasting potential vacation fun. That is why I like to keep activity in play while incorporating plenty of downtime with a cocktail (it is vacation after all).
Last year I vacationed in London and Paris. This seemed to be the quintessential vacation for me because I was in big cities where I walked a ton and even took a hot ballet yoga and barre class. This year however, I explored Ecuador and I’m not going to lie, I felt a bit out of my exercise comfort zone before leaving. “Hmm my fingers and toes turn blue when I make a trip through the produce aisle in Austin, how will I survive hiking a volcano in the winter? Plus I’m like catnip to mosquitos, what will the bugs be like closer to the Amazon on the waterfall hike?”’ Thankfully I surrendered this ridiculous inner banter before leaving and jumped head first into the activities, making this trip one of my favorite vacations.
We went kayaking in the ocean at the Galapagos Islands while nature-sighting penguins, seals, blue-footed boobies, and giant sea turtles. This felt like a Disney movie come to life where the sea life literally was playing with us and trying to show off. I felt like a kid in a candy store and had so much fun I didn’t even feel how hard I was working. My shoulders and arms definitely felt it the next day. Water sports like swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and surfing burn a great deal of calories with plenty of entertainment involved.
We also hiked up Cotopaxi, which I did feel - altitude asphyxiation is a real thing (I kid but just slightly). This was definitely out of my comfort zone since I think I am in decent shape and enjoy hiking (in full disclosure my hiking expertise extends to Enchanted Rock and the Greenbelt). We were approximately at 15,000 feet which is near impossible to breath if you are not acclimated, which I was not. The ground was deep soft sand so when you made the effort of stepping up you sank back down ⅔ of the way while battling astronomical wind gusts knocking you off balance. (I think I have found a new torture device for classes at the studio - altitude, sand, and wind, OH MY!) Thank goodness for my 72 year old guide named Luis. He had walking sticks and let me hold on to him for support as I slowly made my way up the volcano. (Can you say inspirational, he does this hike everyday at 72 years old!) Although I moved at a pace like the Galapagos turtles I had just witnessed the day before, my heart was fiercely pounding like I had just run the NYC marathon uphill in an ice storm. That’s me pictured below with my guide. I’m sitting down and still holding onto him because I swear the winds WERE GOING TO BLOW ME OFF THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN. We followed this heart pounder up with an hour long hike around a beautiful lagoon. It was all worth it. I had worked for my three course meal that was served at lunch!
I get it if you’re not super enticed by an oxygen depleted hike up a mountain, but even a nice long walk on the beach can do wonders for shaking lethargy.
About the Author
Jennifer McCamish is owner and Director of Programming and Training at Dancers Shape. Jennifer has over 30 years of dance experience with training from legendary institutes in New York City, London, Los Angeles and New Orleans. She received a B.A. in Dance from the University of Texas at Austin (Dean’s List) and was a professional dancer in New York City for thirteen years. She danced at Radio City Music Hall as a Radio City Rockette performing in numerous productions of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Fifi Awards and the NYC Christopher Columbus Day Parade. Read more about Jennifer.