In advance of Father’s Day here in the U.S., I’d like to share a few pictures from my recent vacation with my parents. We took two weeks, went to Madrid (where they first lived as a young newly-married couple), and then a river cruise in Bordeaux. Fabulous trip, so thrilled that I took the time to travel with them!!
But they’ve both had some health issues over the past year which affected their mobility. In fact, because of an eye surgery, we weren’t sure until two days before the trip whether we’d be able to go. So, besides wanting to spend time with them, I wanted to be there to make sure they were OK and help out when I could.
This was an active vacation: covering a lot of ground in Madrid, and daily shore trips on the cruise which involved lots of walking, usually on old cobblestone streets and through vineyards. I brought along a pair of lightweight hiking poles for my dad to use. And we walked. We walked slowly on very uneven ground, walked quicker on easy ground. We walked up and down steep medieval streets. We took rests after climbing stairs or hills if necessary. And I talked with them both about exercises to improve stability – working on lateral movements and balance (want to keep them stable).
There’s often so much emphasis in the media on super intense workouts. Way too often, people think the only exercise that matters is something that hurts, and if they can’t do that, then it doesn’t count. But it all depends on your situation. What’s adequate depends on your goals, your condition, your health. It’s always completely individual.
We all got a lot of exercise on the trip, but it was moderate. We walked. In some of the ports, I ran – nothing major, just a nice run along the river. And in doing so, despite great (and ample) food and drink, we all came home exactly the same weight as when we left (not that weight is the most important measure of fitness!). The key is, doing activity that is appropriate, and doing it consistently. That’s what’s necessary for longterm health.
So Happy Father’s Day! If you can, go for a walk with your dad. Anywhere, not just on a European vacation. It’s totally worth it – for both of you.
And in the midst of a fabulous trip, probably my favorite moment was watching my dad ask my mom to dance – he’s still got some moves!