Too late to get in shape?
February 11, 2012 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Get into shape is as little as two weeks! Or no?

The Cosette and I are leaving for a month long vacation in two weeks (yay!) which will involve fair amounts of daily walking.

The issue is that I am really out of shape. Is it too late to benefit from some preparation walks? If I start fairly intensive daily or semi-daily walks would I be in better shape in two weeks or just really beat up?
posted by Cosine to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Walking two or three times a week will probably help.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:38 PM on February 11, 2012

Is it too late to benefit from some preparation walks?


If I start fairly intensive daily or semi-daily walks would I be in better shape in two weeks or just really beat up?

Don't do anything "intensive." Ramp up gradually to approximately the max distance you expect to walk on a regular basis during the vacation. Walk around the outer lane of a running track if you must walk on a flat surface and keep track of your progress, but it's often more fun to walk a trail with some moderate inclines and know the approximate distance traveled from looking at a map beforehand. It's OK to take days off, but walking is not like some really draining exercise: walking itself is an excellent way to address mild soreness and stiffness. You'll have time to get acclimated to walking longer distances during the vacation.

Be sure you have comfortable shoes (NOT brand new ones; you want ones that you've broken in) and buy some moleskin patches if you expect to be doing so much walking that you could get blisters.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 3:40 PM on February 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

Start with half-hourly walks daily. You won't be running marathons, but you need to start small or burn out.
posted by chiquitita at 3:47 PM on February 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

In addition to taking walks for their own sake, start being more active in day-to-day life -- walk to the grocery store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, do light crunches in front of the TV, etc.
posted by redlines at 4:29 PM on February 11, 2012

Start now. I did a two week city-based vacation a while ago with lots of walking, and noticed that I was fitter at the end than the start, so it should work at home too. I think daily walks - unless you have very pleasant recreational walking nearby, find a destination to walk to/from (a coffee shop, a pub, library, a bus stop further away than your usual etc). It is motivating to have a destination or route than just wander.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:32 PM on February 11, 2012

1) Quality shoes. Quality socks.

2) Nthing "don't overdo it". Especially at first.

3) You're not going to be in peak physical shape in two weeks. But the sooner you start, the sooner you will be over the "Oh dear God, I feel like I've been beaten with a stick" part of the process.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:50 PM on February 11, 2012

Yes, start now. I would give yourself a few days off at the end of these two weeks before your vacation. That way you can rest and recuperate if you need it.
posted by J. Wilson at 8:30 PM on February 11, 2012

Definitely get some good socks (to go with the good shoes you will be wearing). I would suggest going to an outdoors store like REI and getting some light wool hiking socks. The wool will help to wick away some of the moisture on your feet, so you won't be as likely to have issues during your trip. Seriously, the difference between good wool socks (such as smartwool, which don't really feel like wool at all) and cotton socks is the difference between having blisters and not having blisters.
posted by markblasco at 9:06 PM on February 11, 2012

The sooner you start the better you'll get. Sure, you'd have improved more with more time, but anything is better than nothing. Also, with new activities you may find that something hurts until you get used to it (people often get sore butts when they start cycling, for example) and these things often go away after just a couple of practice days. If this turns out to be the case, you'd probably rather get the painful part out of the way before you start your vacation rather than during it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:33 PM on February 11, 2012

Buy a jump rope.

Use it vigorously while waiting around when cooking, waiting for someone to pick up the phone, waiting for your partner to get out of the bathroom, waiting for the dishwasher to stop... whatever, really :-)

Do just as much or as little as you can handle, and don't beat yourself up if you don't do too well at first. Just keep at it whenever you have the chance to use the jump rope.

I promise that you will be ready for the walks with just this!
(been there, done that)
posted by midnightmoonlight at 12:56 AM on February 12, 2012

Yup, start now.

Also shoes! You want at least two pairs of comfy walking shoes, and you want to wear them in the lead up to your holiday. Nothing worse than uncomfy shoes when exploring exciting places.
posted by kjs4 at 4:21 PM on February 12, 2012

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