Vacation from Fitness

Vacations are a mixed blessing. A vacation from fitness is no different.

On one hand, vacations are a terrific opportunity to get away from life’s daily stresses, recharge your batteries, and spend time with your loved ones.

Reading on Beach

On the other hand, it can unfortunately be a time when our good habits go out the window and may or may not re-start when we return.

I’m a firm believer of indulging once in awhile, so I tend not to stress-out over eating out, ice cream cones, and lack of exercise for a few days.

With that in mind, here are some fitness tips to help you prepare for vacation, minimize the damage, and get back on track when you return home:

  • Pack lunches
    Unless you are going on a cruise, it may be worth your while to pack some low-calorie snacks and lunch items. This will not only be healthier than eating out, it will also be nicer on your wallet. If you’re able to reduce the eating out to dinners only, you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary calories while still indulging yourself on the local vacation scene. I’d much rather carry a backpack with PB&Js and bottled water than stop for a Big Mac, fries, & a soda so that when dinner time comes around, I have no guilt over ordering whatever I want (including dessert!). Just because you're on a short vacation from fitness workouts, doesn't mean that you need to go to the opposite extreme and be a smart.
  • Exercise disguised as Fun:
    There are lots of ways to get a good cardio workout without going to a gym. Depending on where you’re heading, bring your bikes, walk on the beach, play 18 holes, do some extra walking in the amusement parks. Be creative. There are lots of ways to ‘get out there’ and still have a good time. Do some research on the area where you’re heading, some of the most scenic parks in this world have the best paths to bike, run or jog on!
  • Rest!
    That’s no typo. Rest is when our bodies heal, recover, and grow stronger…so sleep in, read a book on the beach, take a mid-day nap, or just hang out with your family or friends. You’re on vacation to enjoy yourself, so don’t feel guilty about lounging around more than normal. Stress + rest allows our bodies to rebuild and get stronger. Injuries usually occur when we leave out the “rest” part (when you get home be sure to re-introduce the “stress” part, though ;-).
  • Take a “Measuring” Break
    Unless you really want to know how much weight you gained on vacation, don’t weigh yourself as soon as you get home. Chances are that number will either depress you or motivate you to overexert yourself. If you’re a runner and have taken a long break from running, you may want to leave your watch at home. Give yourself a week or two to get back into your routine of good habits.

Vacations and breaks from our daily routine are important. There’s more to life than fitness and exercise. Don’t be afraid to indulge in some of life’s simple pleasures. This only becomes an issue when life’s simple pleasures make there way into our daily routines and habits.

If you plan right, you can lessen the impact of vacations on your fitness plan and still have a great time. If you’ve started and maintained good habits, it’s certainly OK to loosen the belt a bit for week or two…knowing that you’ll restart those good habits when you return.

Enjoy your vacation from fitness!

For great vacation tips and planning guidance check out: The Fun Family Vacations website.

You can find Vacation from Fitness and other motivational fitness information in the August 2006 article of The Bullhorn

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