Vacations are a time to get away from it all. The problem? Your diet and fitness habits also “take a vacation.” Then, when you get home, it’s so much harder to reset your healthy routines. Here’s the fix for staying fit. Before you travel, create a fitness plan that will minimize the impact of long flights, on-the-go meals and unfamiliar accommodations. Having a plan will help you “think” healthy while you’re traveling.
Pack for fitness success
If you don’t have easy access to the right gear, you are less likely to stay fit on vacation. Here are a few items I always pack to keep up my fitness routine when traveling.
- Resistance bands: Super light weight and simple to use anywhere! Relatively cheap to buy if you don’t already own a set. A set with interchangeable handles on 2-3 different band strengths is ideal.
- Jump rope: Another light-weight item that takes up practically no space in your suitcase. See if you can jump more times in a row than your kids. My daughter kicks my butt!
- Activity trackers: Our entire family wears activity trackers when we travel. Even if I can’t get in a formal workout, I can track my steps. You’d be surprised how many steps you can rack up at an amusement park. We did over 20,000 at Six Flags last year!
- Fitness Apps – There are hundreds of amazing fitness apps out there for smart phones and tablets. There’s no excuse not to find one that is right for you. One of my favorites is SworkIt. This app allows you to customize and play personalized workouts varying in length from 5-60 minutes. Choose from strength training, cardio, yoga or stretching.
Create a workout schedule
Don’t count on impromptu fitness opportunities to stay fit on vacation. Creating a formal schedule will help keep you on track. Miss one workout? OK, but make it a goal never to miss two in a row.
- Add workouts to your e-calendar. Put them in your calendar and set reminders on your phone. Consider a fun alarm sound. I use “Bad to the Bone.”
- Check out classes in the area. See if you can find some exercise classes in the area that you might like to try. Check if the gym or studio has childcare or make sure your partner can cover the kids. This way, you’ll have the class already on your schedule.
- Hire your kids. Give your kids the responsibility of being your personal trainers. Ask them to remind you to work out while sightseeing. Give them a reward for keeping you on track.
Where will you exercise?
Research your destination to find out what exercise options are available. The easiest of course, is to head to the hotel gym, if one’s onsite. But that’s not always an option. Here are some of my go-to ideas:
- Work out right in the hotel room. I’ve already mentioned using fitness apps, but you can get your kids involved too. Ask them to suggest exercises. Jumping on the bed is a favorite physical activity. Try squats too! The bed’s uneven surface is great to work your balance.
- Book a hotel near a park. When traveling to a city, finding outdoor workout space can be a challenge. Find a hotel near a park or recreational area. My brother recently showed me the D.U.M.B.O (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) area of New York. We are planning to book in this area next year. There are walking and bike trails and places to stop and throw rocks along the river. Great views too!
- Try a gas station quickie! Long road trips can feel like FOREVER if you don’t give your body a chance to move. Try this easy gas station workout with the entire family. Sure, you may get a few funny looks, but I bet you’ll inspire a few folks too!
Or try these fun tips for exercising right in your car.
Plan your meals and snacks in advance
Nothing defeats a healthy diet more than running into a fast food restaurant because you need a last minute meal. Having healthy options on hand make you much less likely to turn to unhealthy dives and donut shops.
- Pack a healthy snack. If you know you will be spending a lot of time at the airport, pack your favorite healthy snacks. Apples and oranges are super easy to toss in your bag and won’t spoil. I never leave home without a few snack bars in my bag too!
- Research local restaurants. Before you leave home, look up the restaurants in the area and at the airport. Make a few reservations in advance using apps like Open Table. I found an amazing dairy-free veggie pizza at a restaurant in Florida last year.
- Choose your food wisely. Try to eat a protein source at every meal. Protein will keep you feeling full longer. Limit the calories you drink. Stick to water as much as possible and limit alcohol consumption. Eat lots of veggies. They are low in calories, but full of great nutrients to keep your energy levels up. A splurge from time to time is fine, but aim to get back on track at your next meal. It’s one of the secrets to stay fit on vacation.
Read More: Healthy Road Trip Snacks for Toddlers
Stay fit on vacation…it’s easier than starting over at home
Some people throw caution to the wind and completely indulge on vacation. Taking a week off from healthy eating and exercise will make getting back on track infinitely more challenging.
With some planning and a positive attitude, keeping fit while you travel is possible. Stay mindful of your goals and follow these tips for success.
Jenn Mitchell is a proud mom, wife and adventure seeker. She’s traveled either solo or with family to 20 countries and 36 U.S. states so far. A former personal trainer, Jenn looks for ways to keep her family fit and active both at home and on the road. Her personal fitness journey was published in Prevention Magazine. She’s also been featured in Good Housekeeping, Women’s Health, and Fitness magazines. Jenn blogs at Comeback Momma, where her goal is to inspire other moms and families to live happy and healthy lives.