Thursday, January 14, 2016

Vacations and staying healthy....

Today's Post:  Thursday, 1-14-2016

Some sources say that people who take vacations are healthier than those who don’t.
  (I found out why that’s so recently.)

And, some people who take vacations come back fatter and less fit than when they left.
  (I found out that’s much easier to avoid than I expected.)

From December 30th to January 3rd recently my wife and I took a vacation when we hardly had done so before.

I got a small inheritance which my wife got some of and a larger than normal commission check earlier in the year which helped us do it.

And, we had a reason to travel since our daughter and son in law had just moved to the city we visited.

She got a good job in an area with lower housing costs so she was able to help pay the costs.

1.  Some of the better health of people who take vacations are that people who do have more money, both enough to take vacations and to avoid the worst stress of not having enough money.  Being short of cash for necessities causes enough stress to harm your health.

But some studies found that people who have enough money to take vacations and do not are less healthy than people who do.

I found out why that’s likely the case by going on our recent vacation!

a) People who spend good times socializing have better health than people who don’t.  So arranging vacations with much more of that than normal DOES give you a health boost you would not have otherwise had.

b) If part of the reason you are normally a bit stressed is due to rushing to get to work and too many chores to easily get done each day, having a few days with no commute; no rush in the morning, enough sleep every day; and no chores to do is profoundly stress relieving.

Not only you don’t have chores, the hotel where you stay and restaurants where you eat not only do many of them for you, they make enough of an effort to do it well and be nice about it that you get positive socializing instead of chores to do!!

That gives you such a stress break that’s a boost to your health even after you get back.

c)  Seeing new places and learning interesting new things is good for your mental health; and going on vacation tends to give you lots of that!

d)  One successful man credited his later success with a superior in his military career saying, “You gotta stay flexible.” when something harsh and unfair happened during his service!

He found that being able to accept such situations and do the best he could anyway every time they happened, was a extremely valuable skill.

I was fortunate to read that BEFORE I went on vacation! 

Away from your normal resources when things happen that are no fun and demand solutions anyway, you definitely get practice in that skill!

That happened on our vacation.  So I came back in practice for that skill!

Then I had to use that skill to catch up on chores that had to be left undone while we were not home to do them!

That extra training in overcoming such situations will help me in my normal life enough to likely boost my health.

People who don’t take vacations could use extra training in that skill but don’t get it!

2.  Some people who take vacations come back fatter and less fit than when they left.

  (I found out that’s much easier to avoid than I expected.)

a)  When you stay at hotels there is usually a breakfast available in a several hour window each morning.

They have several protein foods; several kinds of grain foods from breads to things like donuts; and several kinds of fruit.

You can eat all you want without significant fat gain by just leaving out ALL the middle group!

I ate protein foods and fruit for breakfast each day.

They had scrambled eggs and plain yogurt each day and either bacon or sausage each day.

They had pineapple chunks, grapes, chunks of orange, chunks of cantaloupe, and thawed frozen strawberries also.

I had the protein foods, the fruit, and I mixed the thawed frozen strawberries into the yogurt.

I had all I wanted.  I felt well fed.  But when I got back, I’d lost two pounds!

b) At lunch and dinner I had the protein entrée and the available vegetables and always left out the bread, rice, potatoes, and desserts.  I basically ate a classic Paleo diet: Meat or fish and vegetables only – plus one glass of red wine before dinner.

I always had wild caught fish when it was on the menu which I was able to do twice; I was able to get large shrimp once; and once we went to a Brazilian style place where I had beef, lamb, and pork plus vegetables and red wine.  They did have a dessert; but it was fried bananas with no added sugar.  That, I had!

(Restaurants now almost always will give you extra vegetables instead of bread, French fries, or potatoes.  And you can decline sugary or bready desserts.)

I had all I wanted.  I felt well fed.  But when I got back, I’d lost two pounds.

b)  I already do most of my exercises first thing in the morning before breakfast AND for many of them I use my body weight such as calf raises, calf raises on one leg; crunches, twisting crunches, twisting crunches to the opposite knee when I’ve raised it up; and pushups slow rep style.

For the exercises I normally use weights, I did two superslow reps where I tensed my muscles hard both ways for each one.

And, every time we went somewhere, we had to walk from parking to where we were going and back.  We went somewhere every day.  And we visited Portland.  So we often wound up walking several blocks some of which was uphill each time.  And we were often walking fast.

So instead of walking less, I walked MORE while on vacation.

When I got back I was just as fit; and within two workouts using weights I was just as strong.

And, when I got back I’d lost two pounds.

The produce may have been mostly NOT organic; and the meat and eggs may have been from grain fed animals except for the wild caught fish I got.

But between the exercise and what I ate and the protective supplements I took and this only being for a few days, I think it was OK.

But I was as fit or close to it when I came back.  And, I’d lost two pounds despite eating unusually well.

So, you CAN go on vacation and really enjoy it -- benefit from it, and even feast at times, and yet you CAN come home nearly as fit as when you left AND without gaining a lot of weight or fat!  

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