Is sightseeing a substitute for exercise?

A little over two weeks ago I went to Muscat with a group of colleagues for a day of sightseeing, shopping and relaxation. It was the second time I skipped my scheduled long run since returning to Oman.  I know in order to prepare for any running event over 5K it is essential to get in your long runs. Yet, the lure of sightseeing seems to be getting in the way of my long runs. With my schedule at work it is impossible to do a long morning run during the work week and by the end of the work day I lack the energy and motivation to even think about doing more than 4 or 5 miles in the evening. Thus, I have to schedule long runs on the weekend.

Anyhow, we left Nizwa around 8:30 in the morning with the intention of visiting Mutrah Souk, Qurum beach, the Grand Mosque, and Muscat City Center in Seeb  and being home by 6 in the evening.  Well, traffic can be unpredictable in this country and by the time we arrived in Mutrah, a bit later than expected, there  were no parking places close to the souk (market) so,  we had to park at the start of the corniche and walk to the souk.

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Actually, I didn’t mind because I felt guilty for missing my workout and I figured that a brisk walk would at least be some exercise. The walk started with a group photo.

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After twenty minutes, I realized that this would not be a vigorous walk but rather a light stroll thanks to the late morning sunshine and short breaks for photos.

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By noon, I was grateful to have a scarf for protection against the midday sun.

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Finally,  we made our way down the corniche to the souk entrance.

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Entering the souk was an instant relief from the heat.  There was no shortage of items to buy but I couldn’t  find anything that I really wanted or more importantly needed. I must also admit that I am not a big fan of markets because no matter how hard I barter I always end up paying more than I should.

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After lunch we dropped by Qurum beach for a very short stroll in the sand – not even long enough to get out my camera for a photo.  Then we made a quick stop at the Grand Mosque and discovered that it was not open for visitors. According to a young Omani that we met at the mosque, non-Moslems are only allowed to enter the mosque in the morning from 8:30 until 11:30. I was certain that I had read somewhere that we could visit in the afternoons until 4:30. Anyhow, it was also prayer time so we walked around the grounds for a few minutes before going shopping.

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At the end of the day, although I felt tired from all the walking, I didn’t feel like I had a real workout. From now on, I will do my training run before sightseeing even if it means getting up at 5 in the morning on the weekend.

Sightseeing is fun but it is not a substitute for exercise.

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