For many of us dreaming of a winter vacation in the south, we envisage trading in the pressures of day-to-day life for the comforts of a beach chair, a good book and a tropical cocktail.
But taking a vacation doesn’t mean you have to take a break from your fitness routine. Even if you plan to have a restful break, you can keep active – whether to support a health condition, or just because you truly enjoy staying fit.
According to Dr. Ross Anderson, a professor and researcher in the department of kinesiology and physical education and director of the McGill Research Centre for Physical Activity and Health (PATH), planning is key.
“Imagine what you would like your week to look like and what’s needed to make it a success. Having a plan is empowering and will provide motivation to stay on track.”
Continuing your exercise regimen while you travel is not only good for your waistline; it also helps you to keep your body functioning normally, despite the rigours of long flights, new climates and the exposure to different foods.
Maintaining your fitness activities while on vacation takes some careful planning and an open, adventurous spirit. Here are a few packing and preparation tips.
Check whether your resort or hotel has a gym on site, or go online to see whether there are nearby gyms, yoga studios or running tracks. If you are a runner, jogging on the beach can be more challenging than it looks, so ask hotel staff about routes in nearby streets.
Make sure to pack your active wear and athletic shoes. You will also need sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat to protect you from UV rays. If you are a yoga enthusiast, there are easy-to-pack travel mats. If weight training is your thing, you can bring elastics for muscle toning, or a skip rope for a quick cardio workout. And remember to pack a water bottle and headphones!
Get the tech
If you plan on doing a lot of walking or hiking, don’t forget to bring a pedometer or heart rate monitor to track your progress. You may also want to download apps with workouts that you can do in your room or by the pool.
If you will be engaging in intense exercise in a tropical destination, make sure to keep your body well hydrated and to schedule activities when the sun isn’t at its peak.
“Get the sleep you need and eat as healthy a diet as possible,” notes Dr. Anderson. “But most important, if the week doesn’t go as planned, it’s not the end of the world. Simply jump right back into your usual program when you get home and enjoy the vacation for what it is. You should definitely be prepared to adjust your expectations.”