You’re on vacation, right? The last thing you want to think about is your 5 AM workouts in the gym and a strict diet of hard-boiled eggs, steamed veggies, and whole grains back home. That doesn’t mean you want to undo all your hard-earned weight loss and fitness goals with two weeks of rich food and little physical activity, though. Fear not — staying fit on vacation is easier than you think with a little preparation and the right mentality.
Fitting Physical Activity Into Traveling
Here are five quick and dirty tips to seamlessly add fitness to your vacation. The calories burned estimates below are based on the average American women and men, at 170.5 and 197.8 pounds, respectively.1
1. Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. You can burn about 12 to 14 calories per minute climbing stairs. Compare that to the approximate 3 calories per minute burned standing in an elevator or on the escalator.2
2. Walk from your hotel to restaurants instead of hailing a cab. There is a good chance you’ll enjoy some fairly indulgent meals while on vacation. Burn off some of that rich food by walking to local eateries instead of driving or riding in a cab. An hour of walking at a moderate pace burns about 269 to 311 calories — talk about an easy way to work off a bit of that less-than-healthy meal.3
Strolling along the beach to that popular taverna in Greece? You’re in luck: walking in sand requires over two times more energy (and therefore more calories burned) than walking on pavement or similar surfaces.4
3. Take a bicycle tour instead of a bus. Experience the sights up close while working on your fitness. Taking a guided trip around a city for an hour at a leisurely pace can burn approximately 489 to 588 calories.5
4. Take advantage of the hotel swimming pool. There’s a good chance you allotted yourself some vacation time to lounge by the pool. Consider taking a dip. Swimming at a moderate pace can burn about 652 to 754 calories in just one hour.6
5. Immerse yourself in the culture with a local dance class. In Brazil? Experiment with samba. In Cuba? Learn to cha-cha. In Spain? Try your luck with flamenco. Visiting the pyramids of Egypt? Squeeze in a belly dancing lesson. Dancing aerobically for an hour is comparable to jogging at a pace of 12 minutes per mile.7
Exercises To Do In A Hotel Room
If your hotel has a gym, you’re in luck — a set of free weights makes strength training a breeze. Schedule time for fitness into your stay. Also, check with the front desk to see if there are fitness classes available.
Don’t have access to a hotel gym? Not a problem. It’s surprisingly easy to get a full-body workout in a space the size of a yoga mat and with no equipment.
This workout takes only 20 minutes (plus warm-up time) and involves only five exercises: jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, pushups, lunges, and hip raises. Do as many rounds of the circuit until your 20 minutes are up (each round will take about three to four minutes).8
Jumping Jacks (25 Reps)
Why this exercise: Jumping jacks are a form of plyometrics, which combines resistance and aerobics. They target your hip flexors, quadriceps, and glutes, and they engage your shoulder muscles and abdominals.9
Bodyweight Squats (15 Reps)
Why this exercise: Bodyweight squats help strengthen your hip adductors and abductors. They also engage your upper-back and core strength. If performed at a faster pace, bodyweight squats may support cardiovascular health as well.10
Pushups (10 Reps)
Why this exercise: Pushups engage your whole body by working numerous muscle groups at the same time, including legs, hips, core, chest, and arms. Intensity and target muscle groups can be adjusted by changing speed, hand placement, and the angle of the body.11
Lunges (10 Reps Each Leg)
Why this exercise: The classic forward lunge works the hamstrings, gluteus maximus, and gluteus medius.12
Hip Raises (10 Reps)
Why this exercise: This simple-looking move targets the glutes, hip flexors, abdominals, obliques, core, lower back, and hamstrings.13 This move may feel particularly good after long flights, where you’re often sitting in one position.
An Ideal Vacation: Food, Fun, And Fitness
While you may struggle to stay on your diet, fitting in a workout while you’re vacationing shouldn’t be an issue with these easy ways to squeeze activity into your trip. So enjoy the food, get plenty of rest, see the sights, and feel good about making moving your body a priority — even on vacation. Just make sure you get your doctor’s approval before trying any new type of exercise.