You might think summer vacation is also a workout vacation, and that you will not experience any physical changes by taking off a week or two. However, not only are you sacrificing your fitness gains, but you may also be changing the way your body works. Did you know that physical inactivity for three days creates glucose intolerance?
This means, if you sit on the beach or on your deck for three days reading a book, your muscles are already beginning to alter how your body processes sugar. While complete relaxation may reduce mental stress, it increases physical stress.
Therefore, in the same way, you plan a vacation, plan to maintain your physical activity while on vacation by using the following tips:
Make an effort to accept challenges. In other words, do not always take the easy way. For example, use stairs instead of escalators to burn an additional 4 calories per flight. Or you could park far away from the entrance to the restaurant to burn an additional 14 calories walking to and from the door.
Other ways to increase your daily physical challenges and calorie-burning include:
Be mindful of everything you consume. Vacation is not a time to increase your alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol drinking can interrupt muscle circulation, which can lead to muscle deterioration. You have worked hard for that increase in muscle tissue, so do not sacrifice it for excessive umbrella drinks by the pool. Instead, remain hydrated by drinking water to avoid dehydration and support a healthy body. Also, even though vacation food tastes good, the extra calories will add up over time. Continue to make healthy choices such as centering your meals on fruits and vegetables.
Use your environment. Create a vacation based on physical activities such as kayaking, walking or cycling. If you have not planned an active vacation, use what is available to you to create strength-training, cardiovascular and mind-body workouts. For example, perform yoga or Tai chi on the beach; swim in the hotel pool, lake or ocean; or complete bodyweight exercises in your room in the early morning.
You can do pushups, situps, squats, lunges, and dips using your bodyweight for an effective all-over strength workout. If you are on vacation in the city, use the hotel's fitness center before heading out for daily activities. Or find a park and complete a circuit training workout in which you alternate cardio and strength exercises such as running a lap and then doing a pull-up from the monkey bars. Other activities to consider are walking or hiking; renting bicycles instead of driving a car to tour the city or island, or participating in a hotel's group exercise class. Vacation can be the perfect time to try a new workout such as stand up paddle boarding or play an active game such as ping-pong.
Add up your exercise minutes. If the thought of an hour-long workout on vacation is adding to your stress, break down your workout into smaller durations. For instance, perform 10 minutes of bodyweight exercises in your room before going to your first activity. Then, take a 20-minute walk before lunch. In the evening, swim for 20 minutes followed by 10 minutes of yoga in your room.
The shorter workout times add up to an increase in calories burned for the day and will help you maintain cardio health and muscular strength. You may find that your mood improves even more while on vacation — due to the increase in feel-good hormones released during your sessions.
Bring your workout with you. If you are traveling by vehicle and can pack workout supplies, remember to bring the exercise tools you enjoy. These could be a hula hoop, yoga mat or pair of dumbbells. If you are traveling by plane or train, slip an exercise band into your suitcase and use this resistance tool for a total-body workout. Remember to pack your workout shoes for support and comfort during impact exercises such as walking or strength training.
Vacation is a time to give your fitness routine more thought, not less. As tempting as it is to take a week or two off exercise, use this time to create new workout routines that might just inspire you to exercise more when you return to your schedule. While on vacation, your stress level is likely reduced. You may also find that your workouts are more effective, relaxing and motivating than when you are trying to cram them into your busy day. Try the above tips for easy ways to fulfill your workout needs and get the most out of your summer vacation.
Author bio: Jaz Jackson is owner and creator of J Sculpt Fitness. Having gone on her own weight-loss journey, Jackson designed the J Sculpt Fitness Belt to assist with her workout goals.