|Associate Director, Amy Rauworth
Dating back to the days of Plato and Hippocrates, people traveled to experience the rejuvenating and curative properties of seawater. Now, water may or may not be part of the experience, but maintaining and even increasing your health promotion activities is definitely on the itinerary. I know what you are thinking...this is not a 'fat farm' of yesteryear. Many are now called lifestyle resorts, longevity centers, holistic spas, and my personal favorite, the fitness vacation. The resorts, spas, or ranches often carry a hefty price tag. From my investigation, the prices ranged from $1,700 to $4,000 for a week's stay, with many vacationers staying anywhere from two weeks up to three months.
Although I cannot relate well to the clientele that these luxury resorts cater to, I will say that I did pause and think...I could do this. I began thinking of how I could rent out our spare bedroom and recruit all of my friends in the health and fitness field to deliver these services at a much lower cost and still make a profit! But as quick as Rancho del Rauworth entered my mind, it went away. Because at the core of my being, I feel that every person has the ability to make these positive changes without spending their retirement funds! I do concede that these places do work for some, so if you are interested, I will list a few for your reference.
The Hills Health Ranch
Surrounded by 20,000 acres of wilderness and ranchlands, this resort offers plenty of space to get moving and commune with nature. When I called to check on accessibility, they did tell me that the gym is located upstairs and is not accessible by elevators, but their staff of personal trainers and therapeutic recreation specialist provide one-on-one training at other locations in the facility and even offer in-room training. A planned renovation is scheduled for fall 2010.
Located in a beautiful desert landscape, Canyon Ranch offers the ultimate in spa treatments and an innovative Life Enhancement Center. The focus is on preventative health care and the facility offers extensive diagnostic testing. When I called to ask about accessibility, I was transferred to the public relations department. At the time of publication, I had not heard back. If you have any specific accommodation requests, I encourage you to speak with someone regarding accessibility prior to booking a stay.
The Biggest Loser Resort at Fitness Ridge
Malibu, CA & Ivins, UT
Yes, you guessed it. This resort is associated with the NBC's television show, 'The Biggest Loser.' It offers boot-camp-style training for men and women of any fitness level. I did inquire about accessibility and, again, I was transferred to the public relations department and was only able to leave a message. I suggest you call ahead to find out if this resort has any accessibility issues that you should be aware of before you book.
Another option is a wellness retreat that focuses on mind, body, and spirit. To view video on a wellness retreat at Camp Dream located at the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute for Rehabilitation (RWSIR) in partnership with the Post-Polio Health International, click on the links below. The video includes background information, action clips of retreat activities at Camp Dream/RWSIR, interviews with retreat leaders, and testimonials from retreat participants. In addition to showing the rich history of RWSIR, including the famous role of President Franklin Roosevelt at Warm Springs during the mid-century American polio epidemics, it also features interviews with several retreat participants who spent their childhood days at Warm Springs during their initial polio rehabilitation in the 1940s and 1950s.
I have already alluded to the fact that the fitness vacation is my personal favorite. Many of these options simply incorporate your health promotion goals seamlessly throughout the vacation. They even provide a goal for your training, much like you would do in training for an event such as a 5K. One example of this option is Fit Tours. This organization provides coaching that begins at least one month prior to your vacation. The coaching staff helps guests set reasonable goals that will allow them to fully experience their destination of choice. The main activity on many of these expeditions is walking 5 to 10 miles per day through beautiful environments like rainforests, historical cities, and mountainous regions. Fit Tours also provides specialty weeks like Active Seniors. A sample day for this program looks like this:
Tours are available for custom groups of 10 or more participants. Fit Tours continues to coach you to reach your goals for one month after your trip and provides online resources. To find out more, visit this link:
If you are not quite ready for a fitness vacation, think of ways that you can choose vacations that encourage activity. Below are a few organizations that offer accessible travel.
People and Places offers vacations for adults with developmental disabilities.
Trips Inc. offers several vacation packages and identifies those that are wheelchair-accessible or provide a wheelchair-accessible van. When I called to ask about their most active vacations, they suggested: 1) Any of the Hawaii packages that offer snorkeling and swimming, 2) Camping in Central Oregon that offers hiking, canoeing, and archery, and 3) Dude Ranch in Tucson, AZ, that offers horseback riding, fishing, and swimming.
Gimp on the Go offers many resources for travelers with disabilities and provides personal testimonials.
Disabled World offers travel information for persons with a disability and provides links to stories such as Desert Solitude Adventure to Demonstrate Independent Overland Travel for a Disabled Veteran.
Don't leave your health promotion goals at home on your next vacation. Get active and stay active! Here's wishing you happy and healthy travels!
For comments and feedback, please feel free to contact Amy Rauworth at firstname.lastname@example.org