Many Christians hope and pray for an opportunity to travel to the Holy Lands. But what they don’t realize is that most trips require you to be in good physical shape.
When my husband and I received our first email last weekend, describing our upcoming trip to the Holy Lands next summer, I was excited, at first. Then when I read that I needed to be in good physical shape my joy quickly turned to panic. It’s not that I’m in poor health—I check out fairly well at my annual physical exams. But I’ve got my work cut out for me, staring now, if I’m going to join my friends at church and go on the trip. Here’s a portion of the letter than made me stop and either scratch my name off the list or do something about my out-of-shape body…
“People who want to come on these trips should also be in fairly good health and able to walk a good deal (on un-even surfaces and paths for the most part) and climb a number of stairs at different sites. We advise people who are coming to get out and start walking months beforehand so that they do not find it so difficult–but that walking must include stairs (walking on an even surface in an air-conditioned mall will not prepare you that well; climbing stairs you are lifting your wait step by step). I mention this part of the trip because a lot of people think that they can do it because they function very well in their daily routine–but we function in this country in ease and convenience. “
“Whoa!” I shouted, throwing down the letter, not even continuing with the itinerary, wondering if I could make the trip. Then, on second thought, I decided I needed to get in shape anyway, so this would be an excellent opportunity to just bite the bullet and do it. Are you planning a big hiking trip next year? It’s not too late to get in shape. But you have to start now and commit to a program. Here are some goals I’ve designed for anyone (including myself) that will help you shape up and keep up with a tour groups.
First of all, your ultimate goal should be to walk at least two miles at a time without stopping. This is actually the bare minimum on most over-seas walking tours. Start out by walking half a mile for a month. (That’s about a 20 minute walk.)
*Second month—Then, the next month, increase your time to 45 minutes, which is about 1.5 miles. Do this for the next 2-3 months.
*Increase your walking time to an hour—About the 4th month of your walking program, increase your time to an entire hour (for about 2 miles). If this seems too hard at first, break it up into 30-minute segments in the morning and evening.
*Walk in the rain, heat, and cold—Don’t just walk in pleasant weather. Choose days when it’s hot as well as rainy and cold, as you won’t be caught off guard if your vacation weather isn’t ideal.
*Vary your walking trail—Rather than walk on a smooth, straight path, choose areas that winds uphill, as well as rocky roads. If you practice on trails that aren’t that easy to tread, you’ll be more prepared for your trip
*Be prepared—Be sure to take along a water bottle, and wear good walking shoes. Don’t be like me and not invest in good shoes. I learned the hard way about seven years ago when I injured my foot by wearing cheap tennis shoes.
Once you get in shape your trip will be a joy rather than a source of anxiety. Not only will you be ready to hike most anywhere, but you’ll also feel better and enjoy your new trim body.