We all look forward to vacation. It's a time to take a break, kick back, and get away from the same old, same old. But whatever your plans—taking a trip with your family, hanging at home, visiting friends or relatives—don't take a vacation from exercise. After all, a change of pace doesn't have to mean coming to a full stop.
Being healthy is a year-round gig, so don't drop the ball when vacation time hits. If you aren't currently exercising, use vacation as a time to try new activities—like rock climbing or taking a dance class—rather than use it as an excuse not
to exercise. Look at your vacation as a chance to set some new fitness and health goals for yourself. back to top
The Road Trip: How do I stay in shape when I'm not at home?
When you think of family holidays and vacations what comes to mind? Long, boring car rides with you crammed into the back seat with an annoying brother or sister? Not having any of your friends around to talk to? Okay, so maybe you'd rather be doing something else. But that isn't a reason to bag the exercise and spend the trip with your hand in a bag of cheese curls.
You can fit fitness into a vacation on the road, even if you end up sitting in a car more than you'd like. And, finding ways to put your cardiovascular system
to work will help boost your metabolism so you're burning fat more efficiently—even when you're sitting down! Remember, 10 minutes of exercise at three road stops adds up to your 30 minutes of exercise for the day! Here are a few tips for getting physical when you're trapped on a car, bus, or train:
Plane Agony: How can I exercise if I'm flying on a plane?
- Make bathroom breaks a chance to stretch your legs and move them, too! Jog in place to get your blood moving, then do a few lunges or squats.
- Use road stops as a chance to do one of your favorite yoga stretches. Or jump rope for ten minutes of high-energy plyometrics.
- Work your arms while you're stuck sitting down. You can do bicep curls just about anywhere. Or take a knitting or needlework project with you on a road trip. Any movement is better than none when it comes to your metabolism.
- Exercise your mind with progressive relaxation. You might just find you get along with your family better when you let go of stress. back to top
There's not much room for moving around once you're in the air, but you can sneak in some cardiovascular exercise when you're on the ground. Before your flight takes off, go for a quick 15- or 20-minute walk around the airport with a family member without making a pit stop at the munchie stand. (Bathroom pit stops are definitely OK!) Ten or fifteen minutes on your feet to get your heart pumping is better than just hanging around until your flight boards. (You'll have plenty of time for sitting on the plane.) Many airports have a choice between stairs and escalators, so when you have a chance choose the stairs. Remember, every little bit helps and will add up to your daily dose of exercise before you know it! back to top
What if I can't get to a gym when I'm on vacation?
If you're worried about being AWOL from the gym during vacation, don't be. A fully equipped gym isn't a requirement for staying fit. Sure, your regular workout schedule might be thrown off when you go on vacation, but your body won't turn into mush as long as you keep moving. Vacation is supposed to fun (just like fitness), so focus on maintaining your current fitness level rather than trying to become faster, stronger or thinner. If you stay at a hotel with a gym or a pool, great! Put them to use. But you don't need a gym to walk, hike, or do strength training exercises like abdominal crunches. You might even want to bring along some of your own exercise equipment. back to top
What kind of fitness equipment can I take on vacation?
To work out on the road, think about bringing some equipment with you. This can be equipment that you already own, or that substitutes for an activity you do at home. Look for equipment that is light, easy-to-pack and inexpensive—you don't want to lug around a heavy bag or worry about losing your favorite exercise video. Here are some ideas about what to bring:
- A jumprope for cardio-conditioning. Jumpropes are light-weight and take up hardly any room in your suitcase. So get out the rope and hop to it!
- Resistance bands for resistance training. These bands weight much less than hand weights and are just as effective for resistance training. These stretchy bands are versatile. You can use them for both upper and lower body conditioning. And they come in lots of day-glo colors.
- A towel or yoga sticky mat to cover the ground during floor exercises and to use for stretching.
- A water bottle for keeping hydrated.
- A swimsuit for swimming not splashing!
- A hat and sunblock for outdoor activities.
- A pair of comfortable athletic shoes for spur of the moment fitness breaks. back to top
A few more things to remember before you leave:
Vacations and holidays are supposed to be fun, so don't put a lot of pressure on yourself to be a super-achiever. Any activity or destination can be a chance to squeeze in fitness, whether it's running on the beach or dancing it up at a party. You don't have to knock yourself out. Remember, you're on vacation! back to top