General Interest / Health and Fitness / Lifestyle & Retirement / Members Share

Staying In Shape – Through Travel

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Mike Alster, left, and son, Jared. Inspired by Dad, Jared has founded!

I’m often asked how I stay fit “for my age.” For the record, I’m only 62.

I’ve been traveling for most of my adult life, but only recently did I start to view travel as a fun and easy way to stay in shape.

It all started back in 2006 when my son Jared and I had the crazy idea to see the world’s highest mountain – Mt. Everest. Not being professional mountain climbers, nor having a death wish, we had no plans to climb to the top. However, we did some research and decided that trekking to base camp, at over 17,000 feet of elevation, was well within our physical reach.

IMG_0347.JPGSo I began a training regimen, which combined cardio at the gym, running outdoors, and weight training – especially lower body and core work – to prepare for the three weeks of challenging terrain in Nepal.

We successfully reached base camp in November of 2007 and it stands as one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

Since then, I’ve discovered that my love of active travel keeps me fit even before the actual trip begins. Every time I book a trip, my training schedule kicks in and I spend a few months preparing for the big trip. I find that having a goal, like a mountain to climb, motivates me to get up and workout even if I don’t feel like it.

In recent years, I’ve challenged myself to climb Mt. Rainier in Washington State and had the pleasure and privilege of traveling to Tanzania to climb Kilimanjaro – the highest peak in Africa and one of the world’s ‘Seven Summits.’

MikeAlster-cyclingThese experiences have also provided some quality moments of bonding with my son and even motivated him to launch his own travel website, Stride Travel ( As a proud poppa, I encourage you to give it a look if you love to travel like I do.

You don’t need to climb a mountain to reap the physical benefits of active travel. Just sign up for a local 5k run or join a cycling club. Next thing you know, you’ll be ready for a cycling trip through France or Italy.

The more you stay in shape, the more amazing experiences you are prepared to participate in. The healthier you are, the longer you are able to travel! Exercising just for the sake of it can be a bore, but exercising with the Himalayas as your backdrop has a way of changing your perspective.
Editor’s Notes:  Mike Alster tells us: “It’s important to encourage people our age to stay active and I hope this personal story can inspire that among the AFL members!” Thanks, Mike!  And….Jared, too!!

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