By Arianne Brown, contributing blogger.
There’s nothing like a nice, relaxing vacation away from work, home — and life in general. Taking a break from the rigor of life is often just what you need to regroup and resemble some sort of mental sanity.
However, if there is anything innately negative that can come from a vacation, it’s the tendency humans have to overindulge on food, and under indulge in exercise. After all, vacations are for taking it easy and not worrying about anything, which often includes healthy eating and your daily exercise regimen. Even so, there’s nothing worse than getting home from vacation to the realization that you will have to work extra hard to shed the few extra pounds you gained while away.
We’re here to say that you can have your vacation and still come away fit as ever. Here are six ways how to do just that.
- Take the stairs
As convenient as the elevator is, stairs will keep you moving in the right direction in more ways than one. Not only will they just as efficiently get you to your room, all of those trips up and downstairs will keep you legs firm and your heart pumping. Add to it the luggage you will need to bring with you at check-in and check-out is just icing on an already awesome cake.
Maybe you aren’t in a hotel or hotel room that has stairs. No problem! In your travels, you will likely encounter stairs. This is a good thing, and each stair should be seen as one more step toward a consistently healthy you.
- Check if there is a fitness room at your hotel
Many hotels have fitness rooms on the premises available for your convenience. In fact, according to an article published in the Washington Post, some hotels offer yoga and cycling, with a growing number of hotels even taking equipment to guest rooms.
Unfortunately, even with the efforts to make exercise convenient for travelers, many hotels are finding that their fitness amenities are not getting as much use as they should. According to a study by the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, 46 percent of hotel guests said they intended to use the gym, with just 22 percent actually using it.
If you like the gym option, and want to keep it an option, you may want to use it during your hotel stay.
- Find nearby trail systems
Many cities have put in paved parkways throughout their parks systems just for people to walk where traffic isn’t. This is awesome because it keep you safe from fast cars and the exhaust that follows them. If you are in an area with mountains nearby, sites like alltrails.com are great for finding great local places to hike or run.
- Walk if it’s within walking distance
Why drive when you can easily walk to your destination? Many, if not most hotels are located in metropolitan areas nearby restaurants and shopping centers making it quite convenient to walk to your destination. Not only is walking good for your health, but it can also prove economical as far as gas goes, and the sometimes pricey parking. You will also be reducing your carbon footprint by using your very own footprints.
- Plan your trip with health/fitness in mind
A vacation doesn’t always have to mean that you are lazy. A vacation is just a break from the normal everyday life. So, why not plan a vacation with health and fitness in mind? Perhaps, take a trip to a national park where you will be hiking a lot, or to the beach to go swimming, snorkeling or scuba diving.
If you make movement a focus, you will have no problem keeping your fitness level up while still enjoying some much needed time away.
- Prepare some of your own meals
Sure, it’s nice to have your meals taken care of because who wants to spend time on their vacation preparing their own meals? It’s OK to eat out, or take advantage of that hotel breakfast, but doing so for every meal will easily rack up the caloric intake, not to mention, put a huge dent in your wallet.
If your hotel has a kitchen, bring or purchase some things you can cook on your own for a few meals. If not, perhaps it has a fridge, and you can store things like fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and things to make a cold sandwich, or a tossed salad. Yum!
Bonus: If you have kids, bring them with you
If you have kids, you know what a workout it truly is. You may not be able to relax at the beach, but you’ll be able to run around on the sand and splash in the water. You may not enjoy a quiet hike, but you’ll know exactly what it feels like to carry a toddler on your back or have to double back several times for a complaining 10-year-old. Laying down to watch a show at night may not be part of you evening plans the entire week, but you will spend a fair amount of time catching your 2-year-old before he jumps off the bed to land on the floor, causing a thunder down under for your downstairs neighbors.
Needless to say, if you bring your kids, there is no fitness room required.
Bottom line: vacations are meant to be fun. They’re meant to be a break from reality. They’re meant to ensure a more healthy you, both mind and body. However you choose to use your vacation, make sure you make it back home ready to face the world refreshed, happy and healthy.