One of my favorite travel companies, Backroads, offers a whole range of expertise and tips for how you can use your time at home to get in better shape for you upcoming active-travel vacations.
Backroads' ProTips were created by the company's trip leaders, fellow travelers and industry experts. These tips are designed to help people prepare and train for a biking or hiking vacation.
Backroads has created a website as a resource so that you can access all the tips and workouts, as well as shop for the best gear and learn about nutrition and other topics to help you get prepared for an active travel experience.
You can access Backroads' ProTips here.
I have taken three separate trips with Backroads and had an amazing time pushing myself through physical challenges while exploring some of the most beautiful and enriching places in the world.
Read more about my Backroads trips:
15 Things to Know Before You Visit New Zealand
Seven Things About a Biking Trip with Backroads and AmaWaterways
A Biking Cruise on the Danube River
The Joy of a Hiking Cruise in Europe with Backroads
Training for a cycling trip:
Whether you're out riding in the neighborhood, or training on a stationary bike, here are some tips to help with training.
Build up mileage. You can effectively build up endurance by layering on mileage gains over time. Start with low mileage and then incrementally add on additional miles week by week. For example, start with 25 miles in the first two weeks. Then, rest, and up the mileage to 30 miles and eventually 35 miles. It's important to make rest days a part of your training plan to allow your body to recover.
Ride intervals. Alternating periods of "all-out" effort and then easier riding helps with getting faster and stronger on the bike.
Cross train. Varying exercise helps build other muscle groups. Adding different forms of cardio as well as resistance training (weight lifting) or yoga helps you gain strength and prevent injuries.
Stretch. It's beneficial to stretch before and after a bike ride or spin class.
Try these pre-ride stretches: shoulder rolls, neck and wrist stretches and lower back twists.
And post-ride stretches: chest opener, forward fold, standing hamstring stretch, standing figure-four stretch and quad stretch.
Hydration. Drink water or a sports drink throughout your workouts or rides and always take an extra bottle along or refill your bottle often.
Stay energized. You need proper fuel for your workouts. Eat energy bars, stop for a healthy lunch, or eat almonds, candy or other snacks to keep energy up. To avoid bonking, don't overeat before a ride.
Ride at your own pace. Avoid burnout by cycling at a consistent pace that is right for your ability.
Preparing for a hiking trip:
Hiking is a beautiful way to enjoy nature and get exercise at the same time. Preparing for a hiking trip -- short or long -- is important so that you can have a wonderful time without getting injured or feeling overwhelmed.
Food. Trail mix, energy bars and fruit all make great snacks. Make sure to put plenty of snacks in your packs because you will work up an appetite during your hikes.
Water. Hydration is always important, no matter the weather conditions. Bring plenty of water along and sip frequently from your bottle.
Stretching. Stretching before and after your hike helps you enjoy a greater range of motion and flexibility. It also lessens the amount of soreness after your hike.
Try these pre-hike stretches: calf stretch, standing quad stretch, shoulder rolls, hamstring stretch, wrist stretch and neck stretch.
And post-hike stretches: standing saddle stretch, lunges, rag doll pose and ankle stretches.
You can also find information a range of other topics, such as choosing bike seats, how to set up your bike properly and buying hiking boots at the ProTips section of the Backroads website.
Thanks for reading and always travel fit, travel happy, travel often.