Once you’ve established a fitness routine and worked an exercise program into your life, you should see great results if you’re consistent and eating the right foods. But sometimes sabotage can come sneaking into your well-laid plans in a surprisingly fun package: the vacation.
Vacations can be a great way to relax and have a good time; but they can also destroy your hard work by jeopardizing your workout regimen. It’s always disappointing to return from a trip to realize you’ve lost muscle mass and stamina, or gained weight.
The good news is there are many ways to avoid this disruption, and below are 8 ways to maintain fitness levels, no matter where you are in the world.
8 Great Tips to Stay Fit on Vacation:
1. Keep Your Diet in Check—
If you find yourself saying, “Aw, what the heck… I’m on vacation!” during most of your traveling dietary decisions, all of those poor choices are going to add up.
To combat this, keep it healthy in places that aren’t known for their high-quality food, such as airports, and try to only allow yourself one big indulgence per day.
For example, grab a salad or small veggie wrap for lunch, rather than giving in to the many fast food temptations, and save your calories for the fancy dinner you’ll be having later.
2. Step It Up—
Find every opportunity to walk rather than using escalators, and don’t be a stand-in-place person on moving walkways if you can keep moving.
If you’re visiting a city, consider walking whenever you can, as this will burn extra calories and allow you to see more of the details you might have missed while driving by.
Also: Take advantage of the stairs and skip the elevators on your vacation every chance you get, whether you’re in hotels, museums, theme parks or anywhere you can walk instead.
3. Book Fitness-Friendly Digs—
When researching hotels, make finding a place to stay that has a gym and/or an indoor pool a priority to ensure you’ll be able to get in some exercise every day, no matter where you end up.
If you’re staying with friends or family, don’t worry; you can still walk or run around the neighborhood, or find a local gym that allows daily workouts for a small fee.
You can also offer to do yard work and other types of helpful around-the-house cleaning that will make you the best houseguest ever while keeping you in shape.
4. Embrace the Beach—
If your vacation destination involves a beach, you’re in luck, because nothing works out calf and thigh muscles like walking in sand. Sand creates natural resistance and burns far more calories than walking on flat surfaces, toning muscles that don’t normally get used.
Beaches can also provide other exercise opportunities, such as swimming, volleyball, snorkeling, surfing, kayaking, sailing, or body boarding, depending on your fitness level.
5. Vacation Hydration—
Especially during times of travel, such as flying or while driving long distances, it’s easy to get dehydrated due to public restroom avoidance and busy schedules.
But never is hydration more important, because keeping the body properly hydrated boosts the immune system and increases energy levels, two things everyone can use while traveling.
Aim to keep a water bottle with you whenever possible, and take small sips often, especially in extra-warm or dry climates.
6. Choose Beverages Wisely—
We all visualize a fruity, umbrella-topped drink when we picture a tropical locale, and many of us choose indulgent, overly-sugary beverages on vacation. But these drinks tend to contain as many calories as a dessert, with little nutritional value beyond the pineapple garnish.
Instead, stick with usual favorites, such as wine, gin and tonic, vodka and soda, or beer.
Another caveat: If you have too many corn syrup-laden mixed drinks, you might wake up the next day with a hangover that puts a damper on your plans.
7. Class It Up—
If you’ll be staying somewhere for a few weeks, it might be worth signing up for local classes similar to the ones you normally take at home to keep your body at the same level of fitness.
If you take yoga, try to find a yoga studio near your vacation destination. If you’re a spinning, Zumba or other type of class-workout enthusiast, try to find a gym that offers these for a small fee (without requiring a membership).
8. Arm Yourself with Health—
To prevent poor food decisions when traveling, pack plenty of nutritious snacks to keep with you at all times, and including protein if possible for steady blood sugar levels.
Protein bars, trail mix, assorted nuts, and even fat-free carbs like pretzels are all better choices than much of the food in airports or the fried fast food readily available everywhere we turn, so carry smart snacks.
Don’t forget that if you golf, play tennis, hike, or enjoy cycling, you can often seek out these exercises wherever you go with proper planning. By finding ways to eat healthfully and stay in shape on vacation, you’ll make the transition back into your “real life” fitness program easier by heading home refreshed and ready to work out. Be creative, have fun, and keep moving!