Whether you travel for business or for pleasure, traveling is likely to disrupt your normal routine. The majority of those who stick to a pretty stable fitness regime—waking up around the same time, eating meals at the same time, working out at the same time, and falling asleep at the same time—may experience quite a bit of disorder when embarking on a trip. Days on the road, arduous plane journeys, hotels, and dining frequently at restaurants can set back a fitness plan tremendously.
However, being fit and living in the moment don’t have to be mutually exclusive. This means you don’t necessarily have to worry too much about eating local food, drinking a little too much, and enjoying spontaneous adventures. While doing all of this and enjoying yourself to the fullest, you can still manage to stay fit and stick to your fitness regime while traveling.
Here are five simple tricks to help you stay in shape while you travel:
Take Advantage of Resort Resources
Many resorts, including most Outdoor Traveler retreats (Laurel Crest Resort in the heart of the Smoky Mountains, for example), have a multitude of resources that will allow you to stay on track with your fitness routine.
Some resorts have an outdoor pool or sauna. Any type of water activity can be a great way to start your morning, especially if you don’t have access to a pool or sauna at home. A little steam or refreshingly cold water can leave you invigorated and ready to start your day. Pools are great, too, because swimming laps is one of the best full body workouts.
In addition, Outdoor Traveler resorts are usually equipped with a full-sized kitchen. These kitchens typically include a fridge, stove, coffee maker, and often a dishwasher for maximum convenience. While it may be tempting to eat out three times a day while on vacation, having your own private kitchen simply means that it’s just a little bit easier to stick to your diet. Cooking one healthy meal a day can certainly help combat unhealthy food binges. Cooking is sometimes a chore, especially while you’re on vacation; it’s understandable to want a break, but just one simple, healthy meal a day (fresh fruit and granola for breakfast, for example) can really make all the difference. Plus, it can even be a fun experience going to a local market and picking up some fresh food away from traditional tourist spots.
One of the best resources that most resorts offer is fitness centers. What better way to stay on track with your fitness routine than to take advantage of the resort gym? Even if the equipment is slightly different, a quick workout (maybe even followed by a dip in the pool) is one of the best ways to integrate your normal routine and travel routine.
Replace Your Normal Workout with Something More Exciting
If working out in the resort fitness center doesn’t sound very glamorous (or if the resort doesn’t have one at all), there may be more enticing alternatives. Especially if you’re traveling with the whole family, squeezing your workout into an activity that everyone can enjoy and participate in can be easier. Exercise doesn’t need to consume your entire trip, but you can still fit in experiences that are both active and fun. Whether you’re in Myrtle Beach—check out the beach and spend a few hours playing volleyball or doing some laps in the ocean—or New Hampshire’s White Mountains, hike up Cannon Mountain or ice skate on a local rink—there are always amazing outdoor activities that will fulfill your daily quota. And the best part is that it won’t even feel like a typical workout at all.
Seek out interesting activities that you may have never tried at home for something even more exciting. In the Smoky Mountains, for example, one can engage in a multitude of activities that most likely deviate from what would be considered a traditional workout. White-water rafting in Pigeon Forge, horseback riding through the trails of Smoky Mountain National Park, and even zorbing (an activity in which you’re placed in a plastic orb) are just a few examples.
Regardless of whether you’re traveling for pleasure or for business, most people find themselves drinking more than they would at home. Who can resist a pina colada (or two) by the beach? You don’t have to abstain from alcohol entirely to keep your waistline in check, you just have to drink intelligently.
Keeping hydrated (even if you’re not drinking at all!) is the most essential component of maintaining a healthy routine. Not only will it combat the effects of alcohol to a certain extent, it will also help you keep your shape.
Sugary mixed drinks, like the aforementioned pina coladas, not only lead to alcohol-related ailments the next morning, but they are also very unhealthy. While a few sips here and there won’t do much harm, binging all day may set you back. Moderation is the key word here.
One fun trick is to come up with a rule for yourself each night when you’re indulging in a few drinks. For each drink consumed, vow to do 10 push-ups (or squats, jumping jacks, etc.) the next morning. This type of accountability will help you drink less and work out more.
Especially if you’re in a new place, taking a hike or exploring a town will be a fun way to exercise. Ask the resort staff for local sights that are within walking distance and then check them out! For a real workout, you can even wake up a bit early and take a sightseeing run to explore the ins and outs of where you’re staying. This way, when you’re ready to the hit the town later in the day, you’ll know exactly where you’re going.
Tip number five is to relax! No one is perfect, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to stick to your routine. However, if you can get in 10 minutes of exercise a day (and maybe one healthy meal), you’ll go back home relaxed and fit.