Going on vacation generally conjures up images of rest, relaxation and fun. Add into that extra eating and drinking, and you have a recipe for returning home from your trip five pounds heavier and a little less in shape. If you’re determined to fight the vacation health and fitness slide, make a note of all the different ways you can exercise while on a trip.
Even if your dream vacation is taking a cruise so you don’t have to do any extra work, there are still plenty of ways to get exercise. Most ships have tracks where you can run or jog. The view is so spectacular that you might even run a few extra laps. In addition, at each port of call, choose active rather than passive shore excursions such as nature hikes, kayaking adventures or snorkeling trips.
If you’re not on a cruise with shore excursions, you can almost always find a walking tour of the city you’re visiting. Often these are led by members of the local historical societies and are quite interesting. Many cities also offer self-guided tours if you prefer to follow your own schedule. Eschew scooter or Segway tours in favor of pounding the pavement to get your 10,000 steps in.
Take a Local Class
Almost every city of a certain size is going to have exercise classes of some sort. Search your destination in advance and find a fitness studio near where you’re staying that offers one-off classes or a weekly pass. Most fitness studios in tourist destinations offer these because they understand the needs of travelers. This might also be a great time to try a different type of class than you’re used to such as Zumba, mixed martial arts or yoga just to keep the try-something-new vacation vibe going.
If you’re determined to stick with what you know, consider joining a gym with locations all over the country. That way, you’ll be able to complete your regular exercise routine with the same type of equipment. The YMCA, for example, has 2700 branches nationwide, so you’re likely to find one in most cities.
Use the Hotel Facilities
The hotel weight room probably won’t be what you’re used to, but it’s convenient and will allow you to work out early in the morning before your companions get up. Some hotels even partner with local or national fitness centers and offer complimentary membership while you stay. Some people choose hotels based on the free breakfast buffet, so it’s okay if your search includes which hotel has the best weight room. Unless you’re staying in a hotel that caters to children or partiers, hotel pools are often empty especially in the middle of the day. It won’t take up much room in your suitcase to throw in a bathing suit. You might be able to get in 30-45 minutes of lap swimming without another soul in the pool with you.
Bring Your Own Equipment
Many hotel and guest bedrooms aren’t configured correctly for you to do a full workout without knocking over a lamp or bumping your head on an end table, but chances are you can find some open space somewhere nearby such as a back yard or park or even a balcony. Resistance bands and jump ropes both fold up quite small, so they are easy to take on a trip. Although jump ropes require a certain amount of clearance, resistance bands can be used with just a narrow piece of floor.
One of the simplest workouts that requires the least amount of equipment is running. You will most likely bring your tennis shoes on your trip anyway, so keep it simple and find a jogging route near where you’re staying. A hotel concierge can usually help you find a good running path and even provide you with a map, so you don’t get lost.
If keeping fit is important to you, then don’t forgo exercise just because you’re on vacation. There are several options to workout no matter where you go or what your itinerary is.