Feeling Fit on The Road

Tips and Programs from Historic Hotels

Edited by Jennifer L. Price 

Whether on the road for business or pleasure, today’s travelers face obstacles at every turn from traffic snarls to delayed flights and long airport lines.  When the hassle of travel leaves you stressed, try these simple tips from Historic Hotels of America to keep you energized, rejuvenated and relaxed while on the road.

Standing in long lines and racing through terminals takes a toll on the feet.  To rejuvenate, Leah Wagner, lead fitness instructor at the Spa at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, N.Y., offers a simple suggestion.  Place a tennis ball or similar sized firm ball under the ball of your foot.  While seated, roll the ball back and forth under the arch of your foot.  This can be done in your hotel room, at your desk or even on an airplane.

A sure-fire way to feel tired and irritable after traveling is to indulge in junk food.  Instead, Sheryl O’Brien, spa director at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa in Highlands, N.C., recommends reaching for fresh fruit.  A quick candy bar or bag of chips at the airport or gas station might offer a quick fix, but will only bring you down later.  A more nutritious snack will fill you up and provide a good source of energy.

Daniel Chong-Jimenez, executive chef of the Spa at Norwich Inn in Norwich, Conn., suggests eating light meals comprised of lean protein such as chicken breast, tuna and light ham, along with greens and vegetables.  He says eating carbohydrates such as pasta, bread and sweets will result in drowsiness and diminished energy. 

The Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, reminds guests of the importance of staying hydrated.  This is especially true when traveling to warmer climates and higher altitudes.  The El Convento offers abundant supplies of bottled water at various points throughout the hotel.

Kate Means, director of the Spa of Colonial Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Va., which includes the Williamsburg Inn and Colonial Houses, advises getting adjusted to the new time zone quickly.  Set your watch on the airplane, then focus on diet, exercise and relaxation and enjoy your surroundings.  There are some great places in this world and you should take the opportunity to appreciate them.

Once you reach your destination, don’t just sit on the couch.  Sue Andersson of the Jekyll Island Club Hotel in Jekyll Island, Ga., says getting up and out will start you off on the right foot.  Take a 20-30 minute stroll early in the morning to clear your mind for the day ahead, to get your circulation flowing and to explore the sites.  For instance, on a walk near the hotel you will see beautiful century-old cottages, the Jekyll River, the Historic Wharf and the huge oak trees covered with Spanish moss.

Maintaining proper sitting posture while traveling will help to prevent neck and back soreness according to Rob Vorhees, head personal trainer, and Phyllis Ellerman, fitness director at the Sports Club at Boar’s Head Inn in Charlottesville, Va.  They suggest keeping your seat in a more upright position; keep your head in upright position; support your lower back by placing a small rolled-up towel between your lower lumbar back and the seat back; and keep your shoulders in proper alignment.

Many members of Historic Hotels of America offer other ways to stay fit while on the road, here are some of their offers:

Adding fitness into a day full of meetings can be tough.  At the Cranwell Resort & Spa in Lenox, Mass., complimentary daily power walks at 7:30 in the morning enable guests to get in a vigorous walk, catch a quick breakfast or healthy snack and still make their meeting.

Fitness is never far from the minds of the staff at the Ashland Springs Hotel in Ashland, Ore.  Guests can join other tourists and local residents for daily nature walks through nearby Lithia Park.  Complimentary apples are available for snacking in the hotel’s lobby.

Recognizing that food plays an important role in health and well-being, La Fonda in Santa Fe, N.M., has banished all trans-fat items from the hotel.  Menu items containing these harmful ingredients have been replaced with more wholesome choices.  The Don Cesar Beach Resort, A Loews Hotel, in St. Pete Beach, Fla., has adopted a similar policy which also includes room service items, banquet menus and mini-bar snacks.

At the Hotel Metro in Milwaukee, Wis., bike rentals are available free-of-charge and are offered in four color options.  Cruise through downtown, along Lake Michigan or escape to the scenic Oak Leaf Trail for more challenging terrain.

Banish brain fog at the hip VH Spa for Vitality + Health at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Ariz.  A Quantum Biofeedback session measures electrical impulses emitted by the body and balances circadian rhythms.  Guests often remark they feel as though they just “woke up” following the session.

Discover the healing properties of ancient Native American treatments at the Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs, Colo.  At the end of the day, relax in the therapeutic “Yampah” sauna or sweat out your toxins and troubles in the historic Yampah Vapor Caves.

At the Admiral Fell Inn in Baltimore an experience specialist promotes healthy travel to all guests.  By calling prior to arrival, the specialist can recommend fitness options that will fit into any traveler’s schedule, from passes to a local health club to on-site spa services.

When weary guests at The Hotel Viking in Newport, R.I., seek respite, spa coordinators recommend a 30-minute workout in the fitness center, a 50-minute massage at SpaTerre, followed by fifteen minutes in the steam room and plenty of bottled water or herbal tea and fresh fruit.

The Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle offers “Fairmont Fit”—complimentary workout clothing and footwear for use in-room, in the gym or in the great outdoors.  This benefit is available to members of the Fairmont President’s Club who register in advance and at no charge.

For more information on any of the above hotels, visit www.historichotels.org, the website for the Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  Historic Hotels has identified more than 200 hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity, architecture and ambiance.  To be selected for this prestigious program, a hotel must be at least 50 years old, listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places or recognized as having historic significance.