Let's get physical
Though it may not feel like swimsuit season in some European regions, there’s no time like the present to get in shape, especially if you have a beach vacation planned. The days are long and the temperatures are ideal for spending time outdoors, getting fresh air and making physical fitness part of your routine.
Exercise is about more than body image. It promotes longer, deeper sleep that will help your body adjust to time differences and climate changes, while also releasing endorphins to stabilize your mood. Visit the Health and Wellness Center at your installation to have your BMI, body fat percentage and basal metabolic rate evaluated. Staff will help you set goals and develop a diet and exercise plan.
Your installation fitness center offers many ways to help you meet your health goals. A variety of cardio equipment and weights for strength training are right at your fingertips. Personal training is also available for a fee, or try out group classes — they are challenging, fun and help you meet new people. Available classes may include Zumba, Yoga, body sculpting, spinning and step aerobics. Classes are usually free or inexpensive, and are offered on a variety of days and times, so don’t make excuses!
Fitness like the locals
The weather is perfect this time of year for bicycling, a popular European sport. If you don’t have a bike of your own and want to try it out before splurging, you may be able to rent one through Outdoor Recreation. You can also often find used bikes through local yard sale websites or the Stripes classifieds. Keep in mind that the rules of bicycling in Europe may differ from those in the United States, so check local traffic laws and always wear a helmet!
Bicycling is a fantastic way to combine calorie-burning with sightseeing, and you can cover more ground than on foot. Many cities offer bicycling tours, including Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris, Barcelona and London – you might want to stay away from the hills of Edinburgh, though. Bicycling tour companies will provide you with bikes, so all you need to do is show up!
If you’re ready for a long trip, tackle the 100 Castle Route which takes you through the beautiful countryside of Germany’s Münster region and past the ramparts and moats of 100 castles and other architectural marvels. This multi-day trip encompasses between 950 and 1,400 kilometers, depending on the route you take, and is just one of many exciting bicycling adventures in Europe.
Many cities, especially in Germany, have auto-free days when roads are open only for bicycling, walking and skating. Get out with friends or family for a leisurely workout, but indulge in moderation at the food stands and bars if you’re trying to trim your waistline.
Volksmarching is another beloved community activity, consisting of leisure walks through scenic and historic locations on pre-marked trails. Enjoy beautiful villages, quiet countryside, while socializing with your host nation neighbors and experiencing local culture. No advance registration is needed, and walks vary from 10 to 50 kilometers. Visit the Travel section of www.stripes.com on Fridays for the weekend’s volksmarches. When you arrive at the march, you’ll pay a small fee to receive a card from the hosting club. During the march, you will receive stamps for your card which can be used to win prizes. Awards are given based on the number of marches you have participated in or total distance walked. Enjoy the post-march celebration with a much deserved beer or brat.
So, let’s get physical! You’ll feel better and more productive. You might find a new passion, meet new people and see more of Europe. Exercise – your body will thank you for it.