A vacation can certainly help in reducing stress but it can also mess up the healthy fitness regimen you’ve been trying to maintain back at home. Even the biggest fitness freaks find it difficult to answer the question “how to stay fit on vacation”? I can’t say that this hasn’t happened to me in the past too. A lot of times, I abandoned my workout routine and healthy diet thinking “I’m traveling, I’ll get back to doing this when I go back home”. Especially if you’re a foodie traveler, you know how difficult it is to resist all the new local delicacies while traveling.
But what if I tell you that traveling doesn’t have to interrupt your healthy habits. If you’re trying to stay fit, there are ways to get your heart rate up – yes, even on vacation! We’ve assembled an easy guide full of tips and tricks to help answer the question “How to stay fit on vacation while still enjoying yourself?”.
Take the stairs and sight-see by foot
Whether you’re going up to your room in a hotel or sightseeing, do yourself a favor by avoiding elevators and take the stairs! It’s an easy way to work in activity into your day and a great calorie burner. And, as you wander and explore, plan your activities around walkable areas. Visit the parks, discover hiking trails and all other places where you can wrack up walking miles! Skip popular tour buses and take long walks. Not only is this a great way to stay healthy while traveling but it’s also a great way to experience a new destination like a local. This is why you should…
Bring shoes that are comfortable
Whether you bring casual shoes for women or men, it’s important to make sure that those kicks are comfortable. Otherwise, you’re not going to want to walk anywhere. And that defeats the purpose!
On that same note, bring activewear along with you while you’re traveling. It’s highly unlikely you’ll actually try to be active if you only bring outfits for a night out. So, pack a pair of loose yoga pants, your yoga mat, a couple of workout shorts, and a few t-shirts so you can go for a quick jog or easily work out when the opportunity arises. And when you reach your final destination, unpack some of these clothes. That way you’ll be motivated to…
Start your day with a run
Jogging through a city you’ve never seen before isn’t easy but it’s a great way to cover more ground faster and see some of the most popular tourist attractions in less time. There’s always a risk of getting lost but finding your way back is part of the fun. My first advice to all of you who want to try this approach next time when traveling is…
Try to wake up early in the morning
If you’re wondering how to stay fit on vacation, even though it seems unrelated getting up early is important. I know, no one likes to wake up early on their vacation but this is the first step to staying fit while traveling. When traveling to a place that has a big-time difference, the best way to adjust to the new time zone is by doing so abruptly. And let’s be honest, the chances of you working out in the morning before most tourist sights are open are far greater than doing this in the night after a long day of exploring the city. It also helps if you…
Pick a fit hotel
This can be hard if you only stay in Airbnb’s but if you’re staying at a hotel, look specifically for one that includes a fitness center. Each morning before you are getting ready to go and explore, set some time aside to get a workout in. It’s an easy way to quickly get in exercise and might even give you more energy throughout the day. Plus, an early workout means that you might be more motivated to eat more healthily throughout the day!
But even if you can’t find a hotel that has a gym or that’s not in your budget, you can always…
Check out local gyms and find fitness events
Are you in an area known for salsa? Is frisbee big in town? Are there any outdoor adventure parks or rock climbing bouldering gyms near your hotel? Is there a large running race you feel up to participating in? Why not join? Not only can joining a town’s athletic traditions give you a taste of local culture, but it’s also a great way to meet other like-minded travelers and cool native friends, too!
Research healthy eateries in advance
Nothing could make you put on weight while on trips more than the meals that you consume. But you cannot eat healthy unless you know where to eat while in the new environment. Otherwise, you will resort to having your meals in the eateries you can find easily, and those eating places may not serve proper foods.
Fortunately, you can research ahead of your trip restaurants that serve healthy meals and jot down in a hardcopy notebook or your phone’s notepad. You can find the eateries on Trip Advisor, Facebook, and other sites. Google can also come in handy since you can search for something like ‘vegan restaurants in Sydney’ or ‘healthy restaurants in Sofia.’
Consider an active vacation
If you more of an outdoorsy type, why not plan a vacation centered around exercise? If you’re an avid cyclist, consider bike touring, hiking, a fitness vacation, or adrenaline sports.
If you’re wondering how to stay fit on vacation, there are plenty of opportunities to stay active while traveling. Effective workouts aren’t always limited to fitness machines, treadmills, and weight-lifting. There are also…
Basic workouts you can do anywhere in the world
Riding a bike, jogging, hiking, and taking walks are all great ways how to stay fit on vacation but there are also a lot of routine workouts you can do anywhere in the world, from bus stops in Singapore to the middle of nowhere in Iceland. You probably won’t be able to stick to your normal daily workouts and that’s completely fine but try to do at least 50% of your regular exercises. And if this is something you might struggle with, consider…
Wearing a fitness tracker
If you don’t know that you’re being inactive, it can be hard to stay on track of your fitness goals. Make sure before you take another trip that you invest in a smart tracker so you can keep tabs on your steps. If you notice that you’re not as active as you’d hoped, you can end the day with a nice walk or quick workout in your hotel room using resistance bands.
Try out your travel workout before departing
If you’re thinking of how to stay fit on vacation, setting up a travel workout routine is a great way to do so. But before you choose your new travel routine, make sure to try it at home and be realistic about how much and whether can you stick to it. Set the right goals to make sure you don’t end up feeling frustrated for not being able to keep up to an unrealistic travel workout routine.
With that being said, let me give you a few more food-related tips that will help you stay fit while traveling.
Food is 80% of the battle
Many people don’t like this fact but your diet has a lot to do with how you look. In fact, I’ll go ahead and say that a healthy diet is a lot more important than working out. As much as you work out, you can’t outrun or out-train a bad diet. When you’re home, you have your routines and healthy eating habits, but just like working out, it becomes increasingly difficult to stick to these rules when traveling. Especially with all the delicious treats your new destination has to offer.
And similarly to the travel workout regime, it’s probably a good idea to make a special diet plan for traveling. Personally, I don’t count calories when traveling but I try to aim for balanced meals that include at least one source of protein, at least one/two vegetables, and I try to minimize the consumption of bread, pasta, and liquid calories (they are the worse).
Snack accordingly and don’t skip meals
When traveling and exploring a new city, a lot of travelers tend to eat lunch late because they get caught up sightseeing, sunbathing on the beach, or indulging in other cool activities. That’s why it’s very important to always have some healthy snacks to keep you from starving as you discover new destinations. But make no mistake, this doesn’t mean that you should skip meals.
This might seem harmless but starving your body can lead to consuming an unhealthy amount of calories on your next meal. What I always do when traveling is eating every 3-4 hours in smaller quantities. This way, you get to try more things, get familiarized with the local cuisine faster, and eat healthy without consuming too many calories.
Traveling can oftentimes dehydrate you and when you don’t take enough fluids, it’s easy to confuse dehydration with hunger and end up eating a lot more than you should have when in reality, all your body needs is some water. As you probably know, recommendations for the amount of fluids one needs to consume in a day varies from person to person, but an easy way to check if you’re dehydrated is the color of your urine. If you’re well-hydrated, it should be pale yellow or clear and if it’s dark yellow or amber, that’s oftentimes a sign of dehydration.
Watch what you eat
To sum up, here are a few food tips I try to stick to when traveling abroad.
- Know the nutrition information about what you’re eating. I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore exotic local cuisines, but try to learn a few things about the most popular dishes before you actually try them.
- Choose local produce as snacks and always have a few of them in your bag. This way, you can try new exotic fruits and vegetables, experience new flavors, and stay healthy at the same time.
- Make salad your entrée. Try to resist tasty, juicy burgers or pasta entrée and have a salad once in a while. If it’s a buffet, fill your plate with salad rather than trying all of the carb-rich side dishes on display.
- Last but not least, stay hydrated and limit your alcohol. More about this below…
Don’t consume alcohol every night
Drinking is travel’s best friend and you’ll probably have more fun if you let the two of them hang out but choose your nights. Don’t do this every night if you want to stay fit on your vacation. And even when you drink, try to avoid sugary drinks. Liquors mixed with soft drinks are caloric bombs that give the worse kind of hangovers and by consuming these, not only do you consume a lot of unnecessary sugar, but you’re also risking feeling groggy and less likely to work out and be physically active the next day.
If you ask me, wine and hard liquor without any mixers are the best option. Light beers are second-best, and sugar-mixed drinks are your enemy but the choice is yours. Whatever you decide, make sure to drink a glass of water between every drink (you’ll thank me in the morning).
So, no, you don’t have to give up drinking to have a healthy lifestyle. Drinking when done occasionally and in moderation, can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. Just be strategic about the times you choose to drink and make sure that you don’t eat a lot of junk food when drinking.
Choose a fitness retreat or a wellness holiday
Finally, we round up this list of how to stay fit on vacation with the idea of a wellness holiday. You can also do all of the above-mentioned things and join a fitness retreat or plan a wellness holiday. Wellness tourism is booming right now and is becoming one of the most rapidly growing travel trends as more people become conscious about their health.
When you’re on vacation, it can be hard to even think about maintaining an exercise routine. After all, you’re on vacation. But it’s still incredibly important to continue working toward your goals – even if you’re on a trip. Whether you stay active by filling your days with walking tours or by planning your stays at hotels with gyms, there are plenty of ways you get work up a sweat and raise your heart rate. And, if you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even plan a cross-country hike or bike trip.
Did this article show you how to stay fit on vacation? Do you think we forgot to mention something important? Let us know in the comments!
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