STAYING FIT: No need to take vacation from fitness


          The cherry blossoms were falling like snow under the canopy of trees around the Jefferson Memorial. The warm sun punctuated the brilliant blue sky. It was a perfect day to be outside and moving around. My family went on vacation to our nation’s capitol recently and we walked while there.
          Typically I equate vacation with activities like sitting, sleeping, resting, nestling into a couch, reading, napping, and generally not being in high-gear fitness mode. Not this time! We wanted our daughters to see the best of Washington, D.C., in the limited time we had. So, on this gorgeous day, we had been walking.
           We walked through every exhibit of the Natural History Museum. Then we wandered down to the Washington Monument and over to the WWII Memorial. From there we walked farther to the Lincoln Memorial and up the mighty steps. Then it was back down the steps and the long jaunt over to the cherry trees (it looked a lot closer on the map!). Since the day before and the day after were cold and rainy, we wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. 
All told, we walked seven to eight miles that day (depending on whose pedometer we went by). Our girls are active but they don’t walk that long of a distance in a given day. We are active, but I usually keep my jogs in the two or three-mile range. Eight miles in one day was remarkably tiring. The 10-pound backpack I was carrying might have added to the fatigue. We walked to other parts of D.C. on other days, and even wandered around Gettysburg, Williamsburg, and Jamestown. It was a different type of vacation for our family.
But I noticed that my body responded to the challenge of that much walking. Even though I was tired at the end of the day, I slept really well. It felt good to maintain at least some semblance of exercise while on vacation. I’m not sure I’ll engage in that much fitness on my next vacation, but now I know that it’s not such a bad thing.
How about you? What happens to your fitness or exercise routine when you go on vacation? Does it change according to where you are, or does it fade into the background until you return home? I’ve heard of folks who actually walk more when they are at the beach, for instance, because the scenery is so much more pleasant.
Do you have a topic you would like to see addressed in Staying Fit? Just drop me an e-mail at the address below and I’ll do my best to get it in this column. I really do enjoy your feedback! Let’s keep moving together!
Dr. John A. Page is an associate pastor at Athens First UMC. Go to for his book, “The Almighty in the Ordinary.” E-mail John at