How to Stay Active at Any Age

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Backroads' Tom Hale in South AfricaI recently tore a ligament in my ankle while skate skiing. And while I’ve had dozens of injuries over the years from overdoing athletic endeavors, this one required my first surgery ever. I went from 60 to zero immediately–quite the shock to my lifestyle. The downtime was an opportunity to get into even more “work overdrive mode” than usual, and I probably drove a few people over here at Backroads nuts with all my “insight.”

It turns out that the injury was not only great for our company R&D, but it also reminded me how grateful I am to live an active lifestyle. I was able to recover much more quickly than my doctors thought possible. Of course, an upcoming bike trip through Brittany and Normandy and hiking trip in the Alps might have given me extra incentive to get moving again.

I truly believe that an active lifestyle has a profound impact on overall health and our ability to rebound from setbacks. So, what are some of the easiest ways to stay active, regardless of age or ability level?

  • Surround yourself with active people. They’re great motivators and may introduce you to new activities (yes, like skate skiing) that inspire you to keep moving.
  • Multitask. My wife Liz and I get in that much-needed quality time with each other and our kids on trail runs and local biking outings.
  • Insert activity throughout your life. Of course I highly recommend active vacations like those Backroads offers. But it’s also the sum of simple actions like taking the stairs instead of the elevator that make a difference.
  • Backroads Active EmployeesWork somewhere that encourages its employees to be healthy. Easier said than done, I know. But if you have the option, go for the place with the lunchtime yoga classes, bike rides and free, healthy snacks in the lunchroom. The more healthy choices become ingrained throughout your day, the easier it is to remain fit and healthy. Better yet, work for a company whose annual employee outing is a bike trip in destinations like Vietnam or Spain. I invite you to find out more about working at that company.

As I head off for my trips, I expect that biking 50 miles a day through France might be a little more challenging for me now than it was before my accident. I also anticipate that sitting down at the end of each day to a Michelin-star meal and glass of red wine will be just a bit more gratifying this time around, knowing what effort it took to recuperate.

I’d love to hear your tips for remaining active or recovering from an injury for additional inspiration!

Tom Hale and Son on bikes

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Tom Hale

Tom Hale

Founder and President at Backroads
A native of Moraga, California, Tom Hale possesses a passion for two seemingly divergent interests—business and back roads—which he has powered into the world's most successful active travel company, Backroads. It was the back roads that first attracted him, as a competitive runner at Campolindo High School (where he still holds the two-mile record at 8:57.2) and at the University of Oregon, where he was a teammate of legendary runner Steve Prefontaine. Armed with a Masters in Environmental Planning from UCLA, Hale was six months into an environmental planning position in Las Vegas when the back roads called again—big time. A middle-of-the-night inspiration to start a bike touring company motivated him to pedal 5,000 miles alone through the West, all the while formulating plans for his new business. Settling in Berkeley, Hale washed fondue pots by night and built his fledgling travel company by day. In true entrepreneurial fashion, he did it all—designed the itineraries, maintained the bikes, led the trips, produced the catalog.
Tom Hale

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