Now that Spring has arrived, visions of summer vacations are dancing in my head. But… as much as I like to travel, I don’t like to venture far from my healthy habits. And the good news is that we don’t have to. The key to staying fit while vacationing is planning ahead. Just as you would with your travel itinerary, create a wellness itinerary outlining how you will exercise and eat healthfully while you’re away from your usual routine. With a little forethought you’ll return from vacation refreshed and restored.
1. Exercise from the Start
Start your vacation right by exercising en-route to your destination. If you have an airport layover, check your carry-ons in a locker and walk briskly around the terminal rather than sitting and waiting for your flight. (Staying active in the airport also helps kids settle down when they finally board the aircraft). Once you’re sitting in the airplane, try the following exercise to enhance circulation: alternate pointing and flexing your toes approximately 20 times every one to two hours. If you’re traveling by car, stop every couple of hours so everyone can stretch their legs and take a brief walk.
2. Eat Well From the Start
Vacations don’t have to be a downfall for healthful eating habits. Here again planning ahead is critical. Eat a nutritious meal before your flight so you and your family won’t be tempted by the airport food court. Carry some nutrient-dense, minimally processed snacks on the airplane or in the car (unsalted nuts, fresh fruit, carrot and celery sticks and snap peas with a hummus dip, hard-boiled eggs, whole grain crackers and string cheese). If you’re traveling by car, bring a cooler filled with healthy foods and beverages. Book a hotel with a kitchenette and bring some cooking tools from home so you can make some of your own meals. It’s a healthful and economical alternative to eating out in restaurants. My husband and I have been known to pack our mini-George Foreman grill so we can grill salmon or chicken or make a veggie frittata.
3. Build in Fitness
If you’re visiting a city, build in exercise by taking a walking sightseeing tour. For fun, carry a pedometer to track how far you’re going and have everyone in your group guess the number of steps you’ve taken. Or, rent bicycles and cycle to see the sites. My husband and I try to rent a tandem bike when we travel. It’s a great way to see city sites and venture outside a metropolitan area. Exploring your surroundings on two feet or two wheels will give you a new perspective on your destination.
4. Aim to Maintain
Finally, aim to maintain rather than gain fitness when traveling. Stay flexible and fit in fitness when and where you can. Exercising on vacation should be playful and fun so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to stick to your home routine. Likewise, strive to eat healthfully most of the time, allowing for a few indulgences. With a little creativity and a bit of pre-departure planning, you can keep your health fitness from taking a vacation when you do.
Bon Voyage and Be Well!
-Carolyn & Kendra