If you're an avid runner and are vacationing on a tropical island, it can be easy to maintain your early-morning workout routine. But if you prefer the gym and are on a getaway in a quaint hotel with no fitness facilities, you might have a harder time fitting in exercise on vacation. However, it's possible to take time off from your normal exercise routine and still have a healthy vacation — you just need alternatives.
"Vacations are a great time to relax and unwind, but they can also cause some people to fall off the fitness track, says Sammie Kennedy, a certified personal trainer and the founder and CEO of Booty Camp, a women-only boot camp chain based in Toronto. Even just one week away from your workout routine can make it hard to get back to the level you were at before you left, she says.
Fitness Activities for Your Vacation
It's easy to build in exercise on vacation. These ideas will help burn off some of the extra calories you may be eating and allow you to come home as motivated and fit as when you left:
- Go for the gym. When planning your trip, look for a hotel with a gym — even a basic fitness center is better than none at all. Most hotels offer at least some exercise equipment, but if your hotel doesn't, it may have a deal with a nearby gym and provide you with a pass. Or, if your home gym is part of a national chain, you might be able to get guest privileges if there's a branch in the city you're traveling to.
- Work out in your room. No gym? No problem. You don't need fancy equipment or a high-tech gym to exercise on vacation, Kennedy says. Search the Internet for a workout designed for small spaces, and download it to your laptop or smartphone for a pre-breakfast fitness session. You can pack lightweight exercise aids such as a jump rope (15 minutes of this cardio fitness activity will burn more than 100 calories); a thin, travel-sized yoga mat for flexibility stretches and poses; and resistance bands for strength training.
- Take a dive. If your hotel has a swimming pool, make it work for you. "Instead of just lounging by the pool, take a swim, Kennedy says. You can alternate sunning yourself with short swim sessions of 10 laps at a time. If swimming doesn't appeal to you, try water aerobics in the shallow end of the pool, or simply tread water — a half-hour of this can burn 350 calories.
- Take a class. Do your homework before you reach your destination to discover what the locals do for fun and exercise. Then see how you can participate, Kennedy says. It could be a salsa lesson, a hot yoga session, or a ballroom dancing class. Contact a dance or fitness studio in advance to sign up for a class or two while you're visiting.
- Go for a ride. Many resorts rent fitness activity equipment for bike riding or inline skating by the day or by the hour. These are great ways to see the countryside while burning calories, says nutrition and fitness expert J.J. Virgin, co-host of the cable television series "Freaky Eaters on the TLC channel and author of Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy.
- Explore your options. Think of your vacation as the right time to try fitness activities you've never done before. Depending on the locale, consider kayaking, snorkeling, white-water rafting, parasailing, water skiing, hiking, horseback riding, or mountain climbing. You might enjoy the adventure so much that you build future trips around it, Virgin says.
- Try a walking tour. Rather than seeing the sights from a bus or tram, take a tour that requires foot power to get from place to place. It's a great way to see surroundings during the day, and some places offer nighttime walking tours, too.
If you make some room in your suitcase for workout clothes and find ways to include fitness activities in your vacation, you'll return home refreshed and invigorated — and less likely to bring home extra pounds.