The holidays are in full swing, which means so are your long-awaited vacation days. Time to travel to new locations (or visit old favorites), eat incredible food, and completely forget about working out. Wait… maybe not that last one. While neglecting a healthy lifestyle may not be on everyone’s itinerary, we’ve all been there. Keeping up your usual routine over the holidays, especially when coupling it with a vacation, is more of a challenge than the first day you move up in weights at the gym. But it doesn’t have to be! Follow these seven easy tricks for staying fit while traveling.
1. Don’t eat out for every meal
According to a recent study conducted at the University of Illinois, when Americans eat out, they consume about 200 calories more than when they stay in for meals. Multiply that by every single meal for your entire vacation, and you’ve got a major diet-buster on the table. Of course, you want to absorb the tastes and smells of your vacation destination, but taking in the culture doesn’t need to mean taking in the calories. Instead, consider cooking a few meals at home! Head to a local grocery store (which is a cultural experience in itself) and pick out some fresh local ingredients. This can be a bit trickier if you’re staying in a hotel, so opt for an airbnb or timeshare with a kitchen for your next vacation! Your waistline will thank you.
2. Incorporate an active activity into your itinerary
It’s difficult to stick to a consistent routine while traveling, so work some exercise into your itinerary. If you’re on a seaside vacation, go paddle boarding, surfing, or even swimming. If you’re camping, incorporate some longer hikes into your schedule. You can even try a new cultural experience for exercise: sign up for a salsa class in Spain, try yoga in India, take jiu-jitsu in Brazil, the list goes on and on. The beauty of trying any of these vacation activities is you actually tend to eat less after a workout if you considered it to be fun, according to a study from Cornell University. So not only is it a great way to pass the time, but it will also keep you fit in more ways than one!
3. Walk with a purpose
Without a doubt, the best ways to really discover a new travel destination is on foot. By walking around a city or town, you have the opportunity to get lost, wander, and stumble across unique sights that haven’t been neatly laid out in your travel book. So why not pack a pair of comfy shoes and stay in shape while you explore!
4. Sightsee via bicycle
Another great (and active) way to sightsee is via bicycle. Plenty of tourist destinations organize bike tours in the city, which allows you to cover way more ground in a shorter amount of time than walking. But, unlike taking a bus tour, you’re actually getting a nice workout while sightseeing. Another option is to plan a trip that centers on biking in beautiful places. Whether it’s in an international spot or any of these destinations in our own backyard, a biking trip is a great way to make sure you’re staying healthy while enjoying your travel time.
5. Take advantage of your hotel gym
If you do decide to stay in a hotel during your travels, look into booking an accommodation with a gym. With a workout opportunity in the building, it’s pretty difficult to come up with an excuse to avoid exercise. Consider the gym as part of the cost of your hotel room. If you don’t take advantage of the hotel’s amenities, then you’re simultaneously losing money and gaining pounds. Sound like a lose-lose? Then hit that hotel gym!
6. Discuss workout plans with a partner
One way to combat workout-neglect on vacation is via teamwork. According to Men’s Fitness, working out with a partner keeps you motivated, makes your workouts more fun, and causes you to try harder. The same rules apply on vacation! Plus, a workout partner will keep you accountable on the days you’d rather reach for a beer than a barbell. So before you even head for vacation, talk with your significant other, buddy, brother, or whoever you’re traveling with, and agree to keep each other on track!
7. Do a little bit every day
The most difficult part about maintaining your healthy routine on a trip is that you’re simply out of your usual life routine. Since you’re removed from your comfort zone, it’s reasonable to assume you won’t workout as often or diligently as you normally would at home. So instead, focus on accomplishing a little bit every day. Whether you go surfing, biking, or for a long stroll, consider these activities as travel triumphs. According to a recent study conducted at Iowa State University, creating habits is most effectively done by using cues to trigger an activity. Use this technique on vacation! For example, every time your alarm goes off in the morning, do three sets of push-ups, squats, or any workout you can do from your hotel room. This may not meet your usual gym goals, but at least you’ll be keeping active. By the time you return home to your usual routine, you (and your body) won’t feel guilty for taking a vacation.