Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you can’t stick to your fitness routine. In fact, squeezing in some sort of exercise keeps you from overeating (or eating junk) because you’re keeping yourself accountable for the food you eat. Plus, exercising while traveling makes it easier to get back to your workout schedule once you return home. However, many folks pack their sneakers and workout gear but never set foot in the hotel gym. So, how do you fit it in? Get creative, that’s how!
1. Think outside the gym
Don’t get caught up in the idea that exercise has to be a consistent 30 minutes or involve machines. Recreational activities can also be exercise, and doing something is better than nothing. Ten minutes of walking, swimming, or jumping jacks in your room a few times throughout the day adds up. Download an app for inspiration, or watch an online video. If all else fails, walk the flights of stairs in your hotel.
2. Get wet
Going to the lake or hanging by the pool? Great! Water is a perfect place to exercise because swimming or treading water is a good way to work the cardiovascular system. If you’re boating, find a quiet spot, stop the boat, anchor, and swim. Canoeing and kayaking are also great for an all-over body workout. Many lakeside facilities offer rentals and lessons, so take advantage of this to work the shoulders, core, obliques, and back. Or go out waist deep, and grab rocks at the bottom of the lake to see how far you can throw them. This friendly competition becomes a workout for the shoulders and abdominals, and—before you know it—you’re exercising and burning calories. Finally, pack a mask, fins, and snorkel to work big muscle groups. The fins add increased resistance, while snorkeling itself works the back extensors, lower limbs, and torso.
3. Hit the sand
Throwing a Frisbee and running in sand is a great workout. So is getting a group together for a game of volleyball on the beach. Even a walk on the sand helps you stay fit because it works your legs, backside, and core … all while enjoying beautiful scenery.
4. Head to the mountains
Get an intense, whole-body workout in rocky and mountainous terrain by pole hiking. Using the poles allows you to involve the upper body in activity that works the legs and glutes. You move with quicker, smaller steps; your arms are pumping; and the upper body motion increases the heart rate. Small hikes and mountain biking are also fun, scenic mountain activities to get the blood moving.
5. Pound the pavement
Opt for a walking or bike tour in lieu of a trolley or bus tour. Most walking or biking tours can last between 90 minutes to several hours, so you can really rack up some burned calories. From a city walk to a bike excursion between villages, there are plenty of ways to sightsee while getting your blood pumping. You’d be surprised how many steps you get in on vacation—sometimes double what you do in a day at home.
6. Shop ‘til you drop
Whether it’s a farmers’ market or souvenir shopping, window shopping balances the amount of time you sit by the hotel pool. Do your best to get in as much walking as you can, as it will stave off the pounds while relaxing you as you take in the sights. These lead to a better night’s sleep, which is vital when traveling.
7. Be artistic
While some sites might be a quick photo opportunity followed by a meal, make time to visit museums because being on your feet and walking through the galleries will help stave off the vacation munchies. In doing so, you’ll quench your appetite while feeding your soul!
8. Stay at the hotel
From beach yoga and trapeze classes to pilates and shuffleboard, resorts and hotels offer all sorts of fun ways to say active. Ask your concierge what activities they offer that might be a fun way to get in some physical activity because no one knows the hotel—and the region—as well as the locals who work there.
Carolyn Scott-Hamilton is a media personality, healthy living expert, travel/cooking show host, holistic nutritionist, author, and vegan chef.
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