What the doctor ordered: Tips on determining the right activity level for your vacation

One of the best things about making vacation plans through a travel agent or a travel club is that in most cases, the items that appear on the activities menu are graded by activity level. If you're planning a vacation and you're concerned that you might overextend yourself or put your health in jeopardy by attempting to tackle something you're not fit enough for, first have a talk with your doctor. Though he or she will give you an accurate assessment of what they think you're physically capable of, never ignore that little voice in the back of your head.

Here are a few tips to help you determine the kind of activity level you're up for on your vacation.

Low activity level -- Most of the things in which you'll take part won't extend beyond the minimal movements necessary to get from one place to another. You may be required to walk short distances and climb a few stairs, but you won't be asked to perform any intense or even moderate physical activity.

Average activity level -- If you feel you're capable of climbing a few flights of stairs or walking for distances of less than half a mile, you should find yourself capable of handling activities rated "average."

Moderate activity level -- By taking part in activities that are rated "moderate," you still won't be required to run any marathons or scale any fences, but you should be able to keep up the pace while walking for extended distances. You can also expect to experience walking over uneven surfaces, climbing stairs, and breaking a good sweat in the process.

Intense activity level -- Unless you come from a long line of thoroughbred athletes and are in what some might refer to as "great shape for your age," it'll make sense for you to abstain from any activities that carry a ranking or grade of "intense." These usually include walking through difficult terrains in high altitudes, climbing lots of stairs, standing for extended periods of time, and partaking in hikes that could last all day.

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