The Consummate Traveler: Stomping Away Sightseeing Stiffness

BY Michele Goncalves TIMEOctober 24, 2013 PRINT

During my last trip a few weeks ago, I truly enjoyed walking the charming streets of Budapest and seeing her lovely sights. I was so enchanted in fact that I walked five hours straight. Needless to say, all of this strolling and meandering took a bit of a toll on my legs and feet the next day. I was quite stiff which made it tougher to get up and go to work that next Monday morning.

Traveling and sightseeing requires quite a bit of strength and stamina. Many monuments and famous sites require you to climb up hundreds of steps or narrow passages. To top it all off, many of them have no elevator option! In order to maximize your experiences on your next vacation, I’d like to share a few tips to consider for stomping away sightseeing stiffness:

1. The Morning stretch: Before launching out for a full day of activity, take a few minutes to do some simple stretches for your thighs, calf muscles, and back. Warming up these much worked muscles can spare you some soreness and stiffness later.

2. Take breaks: I truly think gorgeous sidewalk cafes in Europe were created just so that folks could sit down and take a break from a day of strolling in the city. I did not take any breaks on my five-hour marathon, and actually ended up standing for more than an hour to watch a few horse races in Hero’s Square (I got stuck in the middle ring of the event). Build breaks into your itinerary at least every two hours or so to let everyone in your party recharge their batteries.

3. Post-outing soak and stretch: If you overdid it on your day out, here is a thought on how to sooth your muscles. Hit the bathtub and take a long hot bubble bath. If you are prone to joint pain, take along some Epsom salt with you from home and toss it into your tub. After your soak, gently stretch your major muscle groups (arms, neck, back, thighs, calves) since they will be properly warmed up. If you happen to find yourself somewhere with natural sulfur baths (like Budapest) consider taking your plunge in those therapeutic waters instead of your hotel tub.

4. Cold Bottle Massage for Aching Feet: One of my favorite tips is to use a chilled thin glass bottle (think old COKE bottle) and roll your feet over it to sooth aching arches. Buy a bottle from your minibar, or buy your own and chill it in your ice bucket. This comes in handy also during an excursion if your fallen arches are stopping you from finishing your day.

As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels!

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