Staying Fit While on Vacation

Vacations are often an excuse to indulge. And while that is certainly fun, you may regret your indulgences once you return home and find that your clothes are fitting a bit tighter than usual. On your next vacation, use these tips to stay fit and healthy. Believe it or not, you can have your proverbial cake and eat it too!

Sightsee on a Bicycle

Bicycles are a great way to see a city. Many metropolitan cities now have thousands of bikes you can access by downloading an app, and purchasing a day pass. Rather than being trapped inside a car, looking through closed windows, you’re immersed in the environment. You can smell the markets, feel the sun on your back, and enjoy the wind through your hair. Plus, bicycles can go many places that cars can’t, and you’re in control of the route (and your pace). The next time you’re in a new city, skip the tour bus and see it on bike.

Pack Healthy Snacks

Inevitably, you’re going to be hungry in-between meals. You may be tempted to stop at every pastry shop, bakery, and coffee house that you see along the way, but the calories (and bills) will add up quickly if you do so. Instead, consider packing some healthy snacks in your travel bag. You’ll save money, fend off hunger until your next big meal, and avoid overindulging yourself. Plus, if you’re in a foreign country with a different language than your own, it might just be easier too.

Don’t Take Taxis, Walk

If the distances aren’t too great, consider walking from place to place, rather than taking a taxi or train. Like bicycling, walking is one of the best ways to take in a new place. You get to see it at ground level, up close and personal, and it provides you with tremendous freedom. On foot, you can go anywhere, anytime. If you do decide to walk rather than drive, consider tracking your activity. Find a tracker that works for you, bring it with you, and set daily goals for fun. There are a variety to choose from – there are even fitness trackers for seniors, like the Lively Wearable.

If You Eat Out, Make Healthy Choices

Kansas City means barbecue. New England is synonymous with fried seafood. New Orleans and Cajun go hand-in-hand. And Southern California is known for street tacos and burritos. All are delicious, but none are exactly good for you. Make no mistake, you can indulge a little bit – you are on vacation after all – but make healthy choices whenever possible. Consider skipping dessert most nights, and be sure to include at least some greens on your plate! Making healthy choices doesn’t have to be a sacrifice, and it will go a long way to keeping you fit while on vacation.

Take Up Outside Activities

Don’t stay in your hotel while on vacation – get out and see the sights! Better yet, take up some outdoor activities. Go on local hikes, walk around the city, hit the links, and explore the area parks. Going outside and being active is one of the simplest, most effective ways of staying healthy. If you have a free day with no bus tours or museum visits planned, simply go outside and see where the day takes you. You’ll love the experience and your body will love you.

Use the Hotel Gym

You may balk at the idea, but you might consider actually using your hotel’s gym if you find the meals are a bit richer (and frequent) than you’re accustomed to. If you’re worried you’re doing a bit more damage than you had anticipated, consider either starting or ending your day in the gym. It can put you in good spirits for the day to come, or help you wind down before you head to bed. And you’ll be burning calories while you’re at it. Just remember to stay safe!

Swim in the Pool (or Ocean)

It’s a well-known fact that swimming is one of the best exercises that you can do. It’s full body, yet zero impact. You don’ have to worry about stress on your joints, and it provides both strength training and cardiovascular benefits. In other words, it’s a miracle exercise. So if you’re visiting a place with natural bodies of water nearby (such as a lake or ocean), bring your swimsuit with you. It’s fun, a unique experience, and good for mind and body. It’s really a no-brainer. And if that’s not an option, you can always settle for a swimming pool!

Be Disciplined

Having a little bit of discipline is likely all that will be needed to help you stay fit while vacationing. Skip the in-between snacks. Opt for healthier meals at dinner. Go with one scoop of ice cream instead of two (or three). And walk off your calories. Take these precautions, and you can vacation without feeling guilty (or self-conscious).

Don’t Forget, Have Fun!

Though this list of tips might have you feeling down, there’s no need to be. Rest assured, there will still be plenty of opportunities to have fun on your trip, even if you are trying to stay disciplined. And remember, there are plenty of healthy meals that taste delicious. Don’t believe us? When you’re eating a perfectly prepared swordfish steak on a tropical island somewhere, you won’t be missing your typical greasy hamburger, we promise!

Samantha Rivers ()

Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, tech and career realm both online and print. When she's not running the Upward Onward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.