Part 1 of our 2 Part guide on ideas for having a healthier vacation.
Summer is almost here. For most, that means a much-needed break from school, work and the normal grind is on the horizon in the form of a summer vacation (or several). But, if you've been one of the many finally seeing results from months of your diet and exercise work, the months between Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day are an important time not to lose your well-earned habits and progress.
Easy Diet and Fitness Ideas for a Healthy Vacation
Without our carefully built routines, gym access, neighborhood sidewalks, a good night's sleep on comfy beds, or kitchens stocked with healthy options, you'll need a gameplan. Don't worry, we've put together some terrific ideas that not only help you stick to your preferred weight management eating goals and/or fitness efforts, but may also make your vacation more memorable than ever!
Some of these tips work best if you can plan ahead, but healthy opportunities abound and we have plenty of great, anytime/anywhere ideas, too.
Get everyone onboard with your plans
First things first! Be sure to discuss activity plans with your partner, family or a travel mate before you go. This not only helps set expectations, but gives opportunities to partner up on activities everyone can enjoy together and, most importantly, will help you stay accountable with your goals.
Pick a vacation rental with healthy amenities
(or get creative with whatever you've got)
Vacation condos, hotels, etc. continue to add more and more options for the health-conscious. If you have some planning flexibility, here are some key things to look for when choosing your "home away from home":
- Many resort-style accommodations include onsite gyms and even community exercise classes. Most hotels include some type of fitness center equipment, as well.
- Try to find places that include a kitchenette so you can easily make healthier meals with your own foods (and more cheaply). If you like barbecuing, check to see if gas grills are available for use.
- It's common to have easy access to tennis courts, basketball courts, or even golf courses. Some resorts or rental properties also have equipment available for use or rent.
- Read up on the surrounding area's walking/biking path system. Many tourist towns offer safe access to everything without needing a car, with well-marked trails and maps.
Sometimes finding a location that meets your budget, has availability, or is in a specific location narrows your other options. No worries! Look for these opportunities:
- Nearly all hotels, motels or condos offer access to some type of pool. In addition to the sunbathing, this also offers swimming workout potential to burn tons of calories.
- Many of the gyms in small towns with active tourism seasons offer affordable 1-day or 1-week membership passes. Some even offer access to group exercise classes or sunrise beach yoga to participate in. Do a search ahead of time to browse the area's gym websites or search gyms in the area and read reviews on sites like Yelp or Trip Advisor for tips.
Be the (exercising) tourist
Many of us have a go-to vacation spot or type of vacation spot every year. If so, you may have never noticed all the awesome "touristy" activities available to try something new, or experience an old favorite place in a new way while also sneaking in some calorie burning.
One place to start? Those giant racks of brochures that seem to be in every lobby of every building in town.
- If you're feeling adventurous, try out one of the local guided adventures such as kayaking, zip lining, horseback riding, or trail hiking.
- Skip the trolley and do a walking tour or bicycling tour of the area.
- Love shopping? Turn that all-day trip into a calorie-burn while barely noticing. Park down the street or at the far end of a parking lot in outdoor shopping village, malls or the outlets.
- Look for competitive or non-competitive athletic events going on during your stay like a 5K, Color Run or Mud Run. You can browse events on sites like Active.com.
- Have flexibility in your time off? Consider planning a vacation around a "destination event" and train for a personal milestone, like a half marathon. Check out this list of popular events and locales for ideas.
Be sure not to over-do it and plan too much during vacation or anything overly intense. Discuss ideas with your family or those you're traveling with to make sure everyone's having fun. And, as always, check with your doctor before trying any new type of physical exertion.
Vacation exercise tips for working out anywhere
You don't need to plan any complicated or potentially costly adventures to have a great time, or you may get stuck inside on a rainy day. There are great fitness ideas to stay in shape while on vacation, all around you!
- Try to schedule workouts first thing in the morning when your motivation and energy are still around.
- Put a few items on your packing list to make sure you're prepped, such as a pair of running/exercise shoes, lightweight clothing, a small floor mat, pedometer/fitness tracking device, and something for music. Be sure you have a list downloaded to save data or if you have limited internet access when using your phone.
- Stairs and hallways make great places to get steps in a pinch.
- While you get a nice walk, jog or run in pretty much anywhere, you can find cool routes using apps like MapMyRun or WalkJogRun to explore the most popular places to exercise near you.
- Pools of any kind offer great workout potential when traveling. Check out these swimming exercises designed for smaller types of pools like those at hotels or condo resorts.
- As you'll realize after lugging it around, your suitcase or travel bag can be used as weight for some one-arm dumbbell rows. Read more here on how to do a doing a dumbbell row.
- Want to do curls but no access to hand weights? No problem! Use large water bottles or 2-liters.
Continue reading in Part 2 of our healthy vacation guide on what/how you can drink and eat better on vacation to maintain dieting or weight loss program success.