Make sure you're fit for travel

Dreaming of that travel trip, time to get fit first

Latest in Travel
Ros Shammay and Ernie Hall believe that keeping fit helps you get the most out of life and travel experiences.

Ros Shammay and Ernie Hall believe that keeping fit helps you get the most out of life and travel experiences.


Over 50s fitness program offers a book and online exercises.


SO you're planning to head off on holiday and dreaming of all the fun - and adventurous - things you'll get up to. But are you up to it?

That's something Taylor Harrison thought long and hard about. As a seniors' fitness expert, author and founder of Sydney's Active Seniors Gym chain, he has heard people's plans and wondered how he could help them make the most of their holidays.

"Boomers don't see themselves as ageing or seniors," he said.

"To them, the dying young is a tragedy yes, but so is dying old and not living.

"Travelling is all part of that and boomer travel has increased 80 per cent in the past decade.

"Of course, with longer life comes ageing muscles, bad eyesight and a loss of balance.

"Lugging heavy suitcases up train station steps or falling on a pebble during a hike can be a recipe for disaster when travelling."

So Mr Harrison is now offering a new over-50s program whereby anyone who buys the Fit For Travel book ($20) can also subscribe to a $90 online program, with weekly exercises sent direct to their inbox.

The program is overseen by a team of exercise physiologists at Bondi, Dee Why and Gordon Active Seniors gyms, with a three-monthly physical review.

The Fit For Travel book is a guide for retirees preparing for their next holiday, both physically and mentally; the online training is an extension of this.

Ernie Hall, 79, from the Sydney suburb of Gordon, wasn't going to let age stop him from exploring new places.

After losing his wife to bowel cancer in 2008, he took up trekking to continue the travel he and his wife had so enjoyed. And, he says, training is essential for maintaining the fitness needed for challenging treks.

He conquered Mt Kilimanjaro in 2012 and since then has reached Everest Base Camp, trekked The Inca Trail in Peru and walked the Kokoda Track.

Last September he spent eight days on an inflatable motorised raft gliding 450km down the rapids of the Grand Canyon in the US.

He attributes much of the success of these exploits to the specialised strength training he has done at the Gordon gym.

"I'm generally the oldest in the group, and it can be tough," he said.

"On summit day of the Mt Kilimanjaro climb we started shortly after midnight at base camp already 4600 metres, and reached the summit at 5900 metres, where there's about 50 per cent less oxygen in the air than at sea level.

"On the Kokoda Track we were trekking through jungle between 6am and 4pm averaging 16km and 1.6km up and down each day.

"The raft trip: well, I guess that was more exciting than physically demanding."

Ernie says that as they lose their eye sight or struggle with ageing joints, many people stay at home for fear of injury.

"But I didn't want to give in to that, because seeing something once is always better than hearing about it 1000 times. I am 79 years young."

Ros Shammay, 68, who recently returned from a trip with her family including 2 grandchildren, to Hong Kong and Israel, says of the 10 adults in her walking group, seven had a slip or a fall on the same trip over strenuous hiking trails.

"I was so glad I trained for my trip because especially in unfamiliar territory, you never really know where the next foot will land."

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