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5 Ways to Stay Fit on Vacation

The best thing about vacation is trading in your daily worries for some sweet, sweet r & r. For me, vacation means disconnecting completely, waking up to the sound of the ocean instead of my alarm, having a cocktail at noon, barely wearing pants, and taking a 2-hour nap in the middle of the day. These small luxuries are things I look forward to during the rest of the year.

I work hard, so I want to vacation hard, damn it. And if that means pouring a margarita into my mouth while I lay in bed eating room service … well, the heart wants what the heart wants. But while my vacation-mode heart may encourage haphazard life choices, the post-vacation can’t-fit-into-my-pants-me, really regrets the 7-meals-a-day/ minimum-daily-activity-getaway. And there is nothing worse than returning from your relaxing getaway feeling out of balance.

So while you’re getting ready to head into to no-pants mode, be sure to pack a few healthy habits along with that swimsuit, so you can return refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way. Read on for 5 ways to stay fit on vacation.

How to Stay Fit on Vacation in 5 Easy Steps

Fit in a workout when/where you can

I try to book accommodations that have a gym on the premises, but that isn’t always possible. If you don’t have access to a gym, there are other ways to get your workout in. Here’s one way:

(just make sure you put down your wine glass first)


But you don’t necessarily need to incorporate a strict workout on vacation. You can get lots of exercise exploring your surroundings and simply staying active. Walking is a great way to get your exercise while you’re away from home, plus it’s also a great way to take in the scenery. Just be aware of where you’re exploring, taking in the culture is great but being unfamiliar with the area can be dangerous. If you’re not a big walker, or you’d rather opt for some organized activities, there’s a good chance you can experience some culture and get some exercise by joining a local activity. If you’re in India sign up for a yoga class, if you’re in Argentina try a tango lesson. Participating in something besides drinking wine and eating all the delicious things can be a great way to stay on track with your fitness goals.

Real life footage of me on vacation


Speaking of eating all the delicious things …

Be mindful of your eating

Vacation is a wonderful excuse to indulge a bit. I have a history of packing a lot of flowy dresses and throwing caution, and my waistline, to the wind for the week. Food tasting is a whole other form of exploration, so, of course, you want to try as much of the local cuisine as possible. Being mindful of how many calories you’re consuming can go a long way when you’re trying to avoid buying all new pants upon your return to reality. Be selective of the foods you want to try (you don’t need to eat McDonalds in Italy, for example), and eat smaller portions so you can sample more. Try applying the 80/20 rule: eat 20 percent of your calories on the foods of your choice and then stick to healthy choices 80 percent of the time. You don’t need to be vigilant, just be aware and conscious of extra calorie consumption and try to balance that out with more physical activity, if you can.

Keep Hydrated

Drinking lots of water is my secret to staying healthy while on vacation. I know, an icy margarita tastes better, just remember to hydrate as well. And it’s not just the booze, the flight can dry you out as well. Being cooped up in an airplane cabin for hours while recycled air is blasted into your face can leave you parched. Also not eating enough vegetables, and consuming too much sugar can be big contributors to feeling dehydrated. When your body is dehydrated it can’t perform as well as it should, so drink water regularly. It’s easy to forget you’re thirsty amidst the excitement of travel and exploration, so set an alarm to remind you if you need to. Water is your friend!

Don’t drink your calories

Much to my disappointment, alcohol is not a hydrater. But dehydration isn’t the biggest downfall to overindulging in alcohol. Basically, alcohol is loaded with calories, and they add up quickly! A five-ounce glass of wine contains 125 calories. Have 3 of those and you get about the same amount of calories you would eating a slice of pizza or plate of spaghetti. Alcohol is not only loaded with calories it also lowers your inhibitions when it comes to overeating. I mean, who among us hasn’t made questionable food choices after a night of drinking only to wake up with a vague recollection of stuffing your face, and a heart full of regret? And I’m sorry, but it only gets worse. Consuming alcohol also prevents your metabolism from burning food calories as alcohol is immediately converted into sugar and stored as in your body as fat. So calories from alcohol are actually more fattening than other calories. The lesson to take away here is to pace yourself. Practice mindful drinking, and when it comes to choosing your poison, keep in mind that simpler is better. Avoid sugary drinks with lots of ingredients and opt for a glass of wine or a martini instead. Finally, resist the urge to relive your youthful drinking binges and stay sober enough to remember that moderation is key.

Get up off your butt

This is a small but very helpful tip. Sitting through long flights can wipe you and even cause physical pain and discomfort. If it’s not quite in your budget to fly business class, make sure you get up and stretch occasionally. Personally, I opt for the aisle seat so I can get up and walk up and down, and I can stretch my legs out if they get cramped. I also never get on a long haul flight without my compression stockings. Yes, my geriatric compression stockings. They are a lifesaver when it comes to avoiding swollen feet and legs after a flight, and who wants swollen feet and legs on vacation?! If you have a connection you can also burn some calories and get your blood flowing by staying on your feet and walking around. Use the time between your flights to do some simple stretches and brisk pacing.

Vacations are a great way to unwind and reboot, but the change of routine can also throw you off track. While “seizing the moment” is great in theory, throwing caution to the wind has its consequences. Remember to be kind to your future self by staying active and resisting vacation-gluttony.

Now it’s your turn, what are some of the things you do to stay fit on vacation? Tell me in the comments below!


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