Find a TrailLeading the effort to turn unused U.S. railroad tracks into recreational trails, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy manages a database of more than 1,500 trails around the country on its Web site traillink.com. Search for trails in your destination by activity (biking, inline skating, running and more), surface type or trail length, then read reviews and see photos submitted by locals.
Weight Training for TravelersDon't let travel interrupt your strength-training program. For resistance equipment you can fit into your luggage, pack a set of AquaBells. Once you reach your destination, fill these plastic dumbbells with water for up to 16 pounds of resistance. $60, aquabells.com.
Taking a flight to get to a race or hoping to train during your next business trip? Keep in mind that traveling across several time zones can wreak havoc on your body. Jet lag, or desynchronosis, disrupts sleep-wake cycles and may affect behavior and athletic performance. Symptoms include fatigue, dehydration, irritability and digestive problems, and affect as many as 90 percent of long-distance travelers. Here are a few tips to help reduce the severity:
Avoid Jet Lag
- Gradually (one hour a week) change your routine to coordinate with your destination's time zone several weeks before you leave.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine before, during and just after your flight to prevent dehydration and sleep disruptions.
- Break up long overseas trips by staying overnight halfway to your destination.
- Drink plenty of water to counteract the dry air on the plane.
- Try taking melatonin (purchase in powder form at health food stores), which may help you return to normal sleeping patterns more quickly.
- Adjust your sleep schedule to the local time as soon as possible.
Stay Healthy During Long FlightsFlights of 10 hours or more increase the risk of deep vein thrombosis, a potentially deadly syndrome that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein, blocking blood flow to the lungs or other organs. Your best defense: Get up and walk around the cabin every 15 to 30 minutes during flights three hours or longer and do simple stretches while seated. Here's one to try:
Seated Elbow Twist: Sit in your seat with feet hip-width apart and parallel. Roll hips forward and keep an arch in your lower back. Place hands on the back of your head and interlace fingers. Keep elbows pulled back the entire time. Twist upper torso in one direction and hold for 45 seconds. Keep the knees even with each other and maintain arch in low back the entire time. Repeat in the opposite direction.
Linda Melone is a California-based freelance fitness writer and certified personal trainer. Visit her at lindamelone.com.