Reaching New Heights

Marti Morenings

Now that I no longer have day to day responsibilities at Universal Companies, I have a little more time to focus on following my passions. This year will take me around the world on some amazing adventures.

A few months ago, I was invited to join a group of fantastic women on a once in a lifetime trek to Machu Picchu in September.  Without a second thought, I jumped at the chance to see a place I had always dreamed about.  A few weeks later, however, I realized I might have gotten in a little over my head when I started receiving travel emails warning, “All participants must be in excellent physical condition and be well coordinated.  Full day hiking at high altitudes reaching heights of 14,000 on steep narrow, slippery terrain….”   

Despite my involvement in the wellness industry, I have not always been the perfect picture of fitness. Over the last 20 years, my sporadic workouts were planned around a very hectic work schedule, and most of the time, several weeks would go by before I would squeeze in a little time for yoga or light cardio. I always put it off, telling myself, “I’ll get back in shape after the next catalog is launched” or “I’ll get back on an exercise routine after the next big trade show is finished”, but somehow I always seemed to find something else that seemed to prevent me from focusing on my health.    

Realizing that the other women on my upcoming trip to Machu Picchu were in better shape than I was and not wanting to hold anyone back was enough motivation to step up my exercise routine–in a big way.   Now a day doesn’t go by without major cardio activity, and if there is a mountain anywhere in the vicinity, I feel compelled to climb it.  It’s funny how this one little shift in my mindset has spurred me into action. I was invigorated by the thought of challenging myself in this spectacular way and now, every time I even think about skipping my workout, I remember my goal to hike the Inca Trail this September.   Instead of planning my workouts around my schedule or when I might feel like it,   I’m now planning my life and my schedule around my workouts! 

My life-changing shift happened just a couple of months ago and I already feel different; I have more energy and an amazing feeling of strength and empowerment.  My commitment to working out has even been rubbing off on friends and family. Now, instead of meeting for a meal, we’ll meet for a hike.

So, is it possible that spas can influence their clients or their staff to stay fit?  Spas and fitness are inextricably linked.  In fact, the International Spa Association was formerly called the International Spa & Fitness Association—very appropriate given that one of the most important things we can do to maintain our wellness is to stay active. 

Even small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. A recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine highlights the dangers of sitting at a desk all day, even if you do exercise. The Institute is experimenting with vertical work stations that allow an office worker to use a standard personal computer while walking on a treadmill.  At Universal Companies, we constructed a walking trail at our facility, and we encourage our staff to walk it several times a day, and they do!

In my next entry, I will share details of my month-long journey to Bali for the Global Spa Summit . In my continued quest to train for my trip to Machu Picchu, I plan to hike Mount Agung, which happens to be the highest point on Bali.  It is also where Bali’s most important temple, Pura Beskih, is located.

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