Staying Fit on Vacation
by Daniel | Last Updated January 12th, 2020
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Working hard should lead to plenty of downtime and relaxation on your vacation, but it can be difficult to make time for your exercise routine when you're in break mode. With extravagant meals and long days of laying in the sun or relaxing in a spa, your fitness goals can quickly fall by the wayside. Even for more active vacations, you may not get in the typical gym time you usually do.
In everyday life, there is a rhythm to exercising, and your body adjusts over time. Quitting cold turkey for a week-long vacation can throw off that entire flow and make it hard to readjust when you get back.
The other problem that frequent gym-goers find when enjoying a nice getaway vacation is that they don't have the proper equipment to exercise on vacation. This can make it feel impossible to continue your usual routine.
While you may not have access to the same schedule and gym that you usually do, there are plenty of ways to get great exercise and stay fit on vacation. Learn how to stay fit and healthy while traveling with these tested tips.
Downgrade Your Routine
You know that you won't just reach fitness goals accidentally. Don't think that just because you're on vacation that your workout progress will pause.
You may want a complete break from your routine during your trip, but remember that fitness is something you need to make time for while away. If you want to stay on track and stay fit even on vacation, set aside a little time that you are willing to sacrifice. Try breaking your workout time in half or giving yourself more rest days. Even a few hours in the gym is better than none at all while on vacation.
Find Ways to Walk, Jog, and Hike
While it's not the same as a full workout, walking, jogging, and hiking are great ways to keep your body fit on vacation without having to hit the gym. There are hundreds of ways to incorporate walking and hiking into your current travel plans. Try some of these everyday vacation excursions to work on fitness while exploring and relaxing:
Take walking tours instead of bus tours
Hike in the natural landscape
Jog to pick up coffee for everyone in the morning
Count your steps in a massive museum
While these may not be ideal, they allow you to blend vacation and fitness. This way, you can keep your body warm and your muscles working while you have fun and explore. Whether you are visiting a big city or traveling through the countryside, there are tons of ways to walk, jog, and hike your way to fitness on vacation. If you're staying at a resort, check out the daily schedule of instructor-led sessions for yoga, free-weights, cardio, etc.
Bring Some Basics
While you might have to pack light, you may have a little bit of extra space in your suitcase. Even bringing one or two basic pieces of workout gear can drastically alter your fitness throughout the vacation. Here are a few small, lightweight pieces of exercise gear to consider fitting into your bag for a long trip:
The benefit of bringing a few pieces of equipment is that you can exercise and stay fit from the comfort of your bedroom. Whether you're in a crowded hotel or a secluded cabin, you can work all your muscle groups with these tools without having to leave the house. Jogging is great, but what if its raining or snowing? Bringing some basic, lightweight equipment means that you can work out anytime, anywhere, easy.
Go Light on the Booze
While vacation might feel like the time to party it up, this can often come at the expense of your health. Drinking lots of booze every night can make you sluggish, bloated, and unmotivated. Drinking often leads to eating unhealthy foods, avoiding early morning workouts, and sleeping through the day. If you're trying to stay fit while on vacation, booze is your worst enemy.
Booze On Vacation: The Do's and Don'ts
DO: Practice Selectivity
The number one thing to remember with drinking on vacation is selectivity. Be mindful of what you put into your body at all times, and how it will affect you. If you want to let loose at a destination wedding, choose which night you are going to drink. Maybe you forego heavy drinking at the rehearsal dinner so that you can wake up the next day for an early jog. This way, you can enjoy a few drinks at the reception the next day, guilt-free.
DO: Stay Hydrated All Day
Another way to stay healthy while enjoying a few drinks is to remember the power of hydration. If you plan on having a bit to drink one night, start prepping that afternoon by drinking plenty of water.
DON'T: Let Your Midnight Cravings Dictate Your Meals
When people go out for drinks while on a fitness plan, they often run into the problem of late-night cravings. For this reason, prep your snacks early and have plenty of backup plans. Stash some snacks that are a compromise between healthy and delicious so that you don't end up ordering junk food at 1 in the morning.
Use What You Have: Yourself
Even without equipment, exercise classes, a gym, or a sunny day to go for a jog, you can still get some great work done for your fitness plan. These easy exercises require nothing but your own body and some space in a room. You can do these exercises from the comfort of your hotel room.
1) For Your Legs
Two great exercises for all the different muscle groups in your legs are squats and lunges.
To do a squat, simply plant your feet firmly apart and bend your knees. Bend until you reach a sitting position, keeping your back flat and your abs engaged.
For lunges, take one leg and step it out about three feet in front of the other. Bend your front knee and sink toward the ground.
2) For Your Arms
Arm exercises are a little harder to find without equipment, but these two work well. Pushups and arm circles are two of the best techniques to get your muscles engaged without equipment.
To do the best pushup, lay flat with your stomach on the ground. Place your hands on the floor beside your shoulders. Push your body up from the ground so that only your toes and your hands touch the floor.
For arm circles, simply move your arms in small, fast circles until you feel the burn, then keep circling.
3) For Your Abs
The best ab exercises by far are sit-ups and lying leg raises.
For sit-ups, lay on your back with your feet flat on the ground and knees up. Place your hands behind your head and use your core strength to sit-up.
For leg raises, lay flat on your back and engage your abs to lift your legs off the ground and hold them there.
Buddy Up for Motivation and Fun Fitness
There is nothing better than spending time with family and friends on vacation. If you're the only one hitting the gym in the morning, it can start to feel lonely. This loneliness can lead you to lose motivation to stay fit while traveling. One way to solve this problem is by finding a vacation workout buddy.
While planning the vacation, reach out to your fellow travel buddies, and see if any of them have an interest in exercising while away. Even if no one is following the same fitness goals, there are plenty of activities that can keep you fit that everyone can enjoy.
Do a little research before heading out to look for fun activities in the area that can serve as a light workout:
Maybe your mother-in-law would like to join you for an afternoon game of tennis.
Invite your friends to attend a local work out class.
Golf, skiing, and even dancing are common activities to partake in on vacation that might interest a workout buddy.
Compromising by finding an activity that someone you're traveling with likes may feel like you're not fulfilling your full fitness potential. When you partner up on vacation, you get to have fun, diversify your interests, and try something new with a motivated buddy. That's what traveling to a new place is all about.
The Bottom Line
Staying fit on vacation may seem impossible at first, but with a few tips and tricks, it can be easy and enjoyable. Just like in your daily life, you have to make time to work out, despite your desire to hang out. Staying fit involves making sacrifices in fun to make gains in personal health.
By committing to a little time spent working out, you will feel good as you relax. Alternate between time in the gym and time off. Take this as an opportunity to get involved in a new activity: hiking, dancing, and yoga are all fair game!
Welcome to LuggageGuru!
My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.