When Youre on the Road

Planes, trains, and automobiles get you where you're going. But to keep physically active-or perhaps keep up a training regimen-when you travel, plan ahead!

  • Pack comfortable workout clothes and footwear. Take a jump rope, running or walking shoes, or plastic dumbbells to fill with water. You won't need work-out facilities.
  • Choose a hotel with exercise equipment, then make time to use it. Before you make your reservation, ask about the facilities: an indoor or outdoor pool; tennis courts; bicycle rentals; and gym equipment such as a treadmill, step machine, or rowing machine.
  • If you belong to a health club at home, check ahead for membership benefits elsewhere.
  • At the airport, wait for your flight by walking the concourse; skip people movers. On a long train or plane trip, walk up and down the aisle several times if allowed. Ask for an aisle seat so you won't have to climb over your fellow passengers. Do simple stretching exercises to avoid feeling stiff.
  • Ask for an early wake-up call so you can get a jump start on your day with a thirty-minute walk or jog. Get a guidebook to map out your way-or the hotel's front desk may have a walking map.
  • Skip the taxicab. If it's a safe, reasonable distance, walk to your business meeting, museums, shops, or restaurants in comfortable walking shoes.
  • If you're driving, take regular breaks. You'll ride more comfortably after some physical activity.
  • Check the television guide for a workout or yoga program. Or take an exercise DVD and a player.

to weight loss. Because chromium works with insulin, it plays a role in energy production. Deficiencies of chromium from food choices are rare, however. When chromium levels are normal, there doesn't appear to be any benefit from taking a supplement. In supplements, chromium levels are significantly higher than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Excess levels may have adverse effects—and offer no benefits.

  • Creatine monohydrate. This ergogenic aid is promoted to increase muscle mass and strength, enhance energy, and delay fatigue. In fact, creatine is a nitrogen-containing compound that's found naturally in meat and fish and in the human brain and in muscle. Research suggests that creatine supplements may promote muscle strength, help increase body weight, and aid recovery after strength training or short bouts of high-intensity activity; yet there's only limited research on its long-term effects. In addition, athletes tend to take larger doses than manufacturers recommend. Creatine supplements aren't advised for teenage athletes; safety and effectiveness are unknown.
  • Pangamic acid. Touted as vitamin B15, it's not a vitamin at all. Instead it's an inconsistent mixture of substances, including some that are potentially hazardous. Although extolled as an energy enhancer for athletes, it has no proven benefits.
  • Spirulina. Spirulina, a blue-green alga, is often touted as a high-energy food. It can offer nutrients to the diet, but it has no energy-producing qualities. Spir-ulina is high in protein and contains small amounts of vitamin B12. However, much of its vitamin B12 is inactive and cannot be absorbed by humans.
  • Wheat germ and wheat germ oil. Both products are promoted as ergogenic aids. Although no proven benefits exist, there are no known side effects or adverse reactions from ingesting them. Wheat germ supplies nutrients such as proteins, B vitamins, and vitamin E.

See chapter 23 for more about dietary supplements.

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