Getting a Workout on Vacation
Tips for Staying in Shape While You Travel
Updated on: November 2022
Written by: Kelly Koeppel
How exciting, vacation is finally here! Beaches and restaurants and shopping, and more restaurants. Oh so many restaurants to try. Just because you’ve left home doesn’t mean you should leave your good habits behind. Taking a little break is good for everyone, however working out on vacation can be rewarding and relaxing.
A highly active person who stops working out can experience aerobic fitness decline in as few as nine days. During a 7-10 day trip, it’s a good idea to get in at least one dedicated workout.
Even a light-intensity workout like yoga has benefits, including lower stress, better eating habits, and a more relaxed demeanor. Many vacation activities can also count as a workout.
From hiring a personal trainer to tapping into a fitness app, the opportunities are endless. Many fitness apps are available on your phone or iPad, if you don’t have a fitness tracker.
Should I Work Out While on Vacation?
Yes. While it is healthy to take a break from working out, if you’re traveling for more than four or five days then you may want to work in some exercise. For very active people it can take as few as nine days for your aerobic fitness to begin to decline. If you’re in a regular workout routine then you may start to notice other negative effects of a ‘workout holiday’ like poor sleep, lack of energy, or irritability. Your vacation workout may not need to be as intense as your regular workout, however focusing on getting some exercise while you’re on vacation will help maintain your overall fitness and health.
How Can I Exercise on Vacation?
Use the Landscape
If your AirBnB or hotel doesn’t have a gym then you can still get a good workout outdoors. You’re on vacation to explore, so walk or run on the beach for cardio, hike the stairs of a medieval city or see if you can slide into a game of beach volleyball. Many cities have metro bike programs that are free or almost free. Riding a bike around town is a great way to explore while burning off some calories. Squats, plank and push ups are all good body weight exercises that you can do anywhere.
If you are vacationing near water then the options to snorkel, surf, kayak, and water ski are all great ways to get in some exercise while making fun vacation memories. Try something new, that’s what vacation is all about.
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Hire a Personal Trainer
Many trainers are willing to do one-off and short-term training. Hiring a personal trainer in a city you’re visiting can give you structure to your workout and they can introduce you to parts of the city you may not have explored before. It’s always good to know a local and it’s more fun too!
While in Nice, France, I worked out with Merel van der Kammen. She’s a certified personal trainer who also speaks English – very helpful in France. A personal trainer like Merel is able to customize a workout specifically for you, so you don’t have to worry about getting caught half-way up a mountain and regretting that cardio. She can also craft a DIY workout plan and playlist for you so you can get a custom workout in on your own time.
A personal trainer in your vacation city will also have all of the equipment you need. So you don’t have to worry about bringing weights, a yoga mat, or even tension bands. There are a lot of benefits to working with a personal trainer while on vacation.
Merel’s Sample DIY 30-minute Workout
Start with some cardio like walking and stretches. Then perform each exercise for 40 seconds. Rest for 20 seconds before you move on to the next exercise.
- Jumping jacks (with or without jumping)
- Air squats
- Glute bridge (make it more challenging to perform it with one leg)
- Shoulder taps (on the ground or inclined)
- Dead bug
Repeat this circuit 3-4 times and finish your workout with some stretches and a walk, swim or bike ride.
Don’t Forget About the Hotel Gym
How many times have you walked through a hotel and passed right by a darkened gym, empty of all people and music and fun? Don’t let that deter you! Get in there, flip on the lights and make some noise! Many hotel gyms have up-to-date equipment and you can get a really good workout that is only an elevator ride away from your shower.
What is Stopping You?
Yes, vacation is relaxing. But so is a good workout. Your vacation workout doesn’t have to be super intense. A good yoga session can help stretch your sore muscles and slow your pace down so that your vacation seems even longer and more relaxing. Too often we come home from traveling and lament the pounds we packed on with all of the delicious meals we ate. Working out on vacation is fun, it’s a great way to explore a city and get to know some locals, and hopefully burn off a few of those calories before you have to fly back home.
Content on this site is for reference and information purposes only. Do not rely solely on this content, as it is not a substitute for advice from a licensed healthcare professional or personal trainer. Aging.com assumes no liability for inaccuracies. Consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.