Traveling can be a great adventure, but between time changes, unpredictable schedules, atypical food options, and more, it can throw our bodies for a loop. One way to combat this is by staying active while away from home. It may sound challenging, but with some motivation, a strategy, and a little creativity, it is absolutely possible to maintain or even expand your fitness routine while on the go. Try to incorporate some of these tips to stay active and healthy while traveling.
Pack accordingly. Ensure you have all of the athletic gear you need to work out comfortably. Pack comfortable, weather-appropriate clothes, socks and athletic shoes, and make sure to bring your swimsuit if you might have access to a pool, lake or beach.
Plan ahead. Once your trip gets underway, it may be hard to find the time to exercise. Set your expectations beforehand and commit to a SMART goal—one that is specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. For example, commit to walking for 30 minutes in the morning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday the week you’re away.
Share your plans. Traveling with others? Chances are there is someone in the group who would be happy to join you for a walk, swim or other activity.
Exercise while touring. Going for a morning jog or walk in the area around your hotel or lodging is a fantastic way to get a feel for the neighborhood and check out the sites. Just don’t forget your camera!
Get familiar with your destination. Check the area for gyms, parks, pools, beaches, lakes, golf courses, walking trails or bike rentals. Knowing the opportunities for activity before you go can help you create, and follow through on, your plans to be active.
Talk to the hotel or resort concierge to see if they offer any complimentary fitness classes or physical activities.
Be adventurous. If you’re traveling for leisure, plan to do activities you may not normally have access to like hiking, surfing, kayaking or canoeing. This is a great way to explore local parks and other outdoor destinations.
Find exercises that require little to no equipment. It can be easy to do a quick routine in your hotel room. For example:
- Perform push-ups or planks to strengthen your upper body and core muscles.
- Squats and lunges are a perfect workout for your legs and butt.
- Tone your arms with tricep dips, using your body weight and a chair.
- Work your core muscles with crunches or banana abs.
- Bring a resistance band for a quick workout to strengthen and stretch your muscles.
- Perform simple strength training exercises using water bottles to mimic hand weights.
Pack an exercise DVD or download a video on your phone, computer or tablet.
Keep moving as often as you can. Reducing sedentary behavior, even when on vacation, is good for your health.
- If you’re waiting for public transportation such as a plane or train, walk around or stand while waiting to board.
- Every hour, when possible, get up and walk down the aisle of the plane or train.
- If you’re driving, try to make frequent stops to walk or stretch.
- Lounging on the beach? Take a walk to the water every so often or take a walk down the beach.
- Take the stairs rather than the elevator.
Incorporate nutritious food options when available. Staying active is important, but it is also critical to make sure to add in fruits, vegetables and other healthy options alongside local cuisine (you are on vacation – indulging in moderation is encouraged!). Make sure to drink plenty of water, keep sugary beverages to a minimum, and add a piece of fruit or a salad before the meal to help you avoid overeating. Depending on your accommodations, you may also consider preparing a meal or two yourself to keep costs down and nutrition high.
Don’t overdo it. While you may have more time to exercise when away from your normal routine, especially if you’re on vacation, resist the temptation to go crazy. Allowing your body time to recover is important to prevent injury as well as get the most from your workout.
Remember to always check with your doctor prior to starting a new exercise routine, and enjoy your travels!