Tips For a Fitter, Healthier Vacation

Alex Wong
Alex Wong | PeakPX

It’s depressingly easy to undo all the hard work you’ve put into eating and exercising right — just one week of daiquiris and desserts will do it. Although feasting, reclining and generally relinquishing your everyday schedule are the best things about a vacation, taking a few simple measures while away will make the return to “real life” a little easier.

Include at least one big activity day

If you’re on a city break then you’re probably already surpassing the recommended 10,000 daily steps, but if the only thing on your agenda is sun lounging you’d be wise to consider throwing an excursion into the mix. Hike a mountain, visit a far-flung temple, go canyoning or rock climbing — a physically taxing day of adventures will feel great, plus there’s evidence that incorporating novel activities into your trip will make it appear to pass more slowly.

Avoid the buffet

There’s nothing like being faced with row upon row of different flavors and textures to encourage our tendency to overindulge — in fact, research says we make three separate trips to the buffet cart on average. If it’s unavoidable (buffets are ubiquitous at big resorts) try to scope out all the options before committing. Figuring out what you fancy instead of impulsively spooning everything in sight onto your plate is crucial for portion control.

Set realistic exercise goals

There’s a reason the hotel gym is normally a pretty desolate place. Even if you bring your workout clothes, it’s hard to talk yourself into the treadmill when the alternative is so much more delightful. Be realistic about what you can expect from your laid-back vacation self — walking 30 minutes to the nearest town for dinner chimes much more readily with the holiday mood than daily TRXing.

Go easy on the alcohol

What’s better than a cocktail on the beach as sunset? By all means enjoy a drink, but be aware that alcohol is loaded with empty calories (meaning they have no nutritional value whatsoever). A pina colada, for example, contains around 644 calories, and given how many you’ll consume on an afternoon bender they can add pounds pretty quick, so stick to water by day and drink reservedly in the evening.

Fit movement in when you can

On a beach vacation we spend the majority of the day horizontal. With such a chilled itinerary of reading and napping, there’s more than enough time to sneak in exercise. Do a few sets of crunches and leg lifts while you’re on the sun lounger, and before lights out – try gentle yoga stretches from bed.

Utilize apps

Downloading the right apps before you go abroad makes healthy habit maintenance a whole lot easier. Happy Cow lists veggie and vegan restaurants, complete with reviews, for every city around the world — a great resource for fresh, nutritious meals regardless of whether you omit meat as a rule.

If you’re more of a group fitness person at home, Aaptiv can help you get more out of hotel gym machines. It combines guided audio workouts with playlists that spark your momentum, so working up a sweat every day won’t feel like such a buzz kill.

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