Should You Exercise While On Vacation?

Is it a good idea to get a sweat on while you are away?

Lady Running on Beach

I love to be active! I enjoy riding a stationary bike, running, and doing resistance training throughout the week as a way to keep my heart, lungs and muscles strong. But what about rest? Resting is equally important and my favorite way to rest is on a vacation! So should I exercise while resting? Should you exercise while on vacation?

It depends on the vacation that is planned and what sort of physical maintenance is required. You might even develop some better habits! Let’s explore the type of activity level that might be right for the vacation life. 

Type of vacation

At this point in my life I usually take one of three vacations: road trip, sightseeing or visiting family. 

Usually when I am sightseeing this is an extremely active type of vacation so I feel zero guilt if I skip dedicated workouts. Climbing hills to see an old cathedral or fighting surf to catch a wave on a boogie board gives me plenty of cardio and resistance training! Not to mention walking from museum to restaurant to hotel can equal some solid miles. 

If I am on a road trip, exercise is an absolute must for me! I prefer full days of driving however, after 8 hours of sitting while snacking on high salt and sugar snacks, my body is ready for some expenditure of calories. I love to stay at hotels with a pool and an exercise room. Nothing feels better than swimming after a long day of driving. Bonus it tires out kids as well! Combine that with taking stairs over an elevator and everyone sleeps well at night. Always take the stairs. 

I’m grateful that my extended family is fairly active. It makes exercise and family trips that much easier! Whether I am using my parent’s weights or hiking with the siblings, family vacations lend themselves to staying active. What if your family isn’t active? Let’s explore that in the next topic: time.

Man running in mountains

Vacation Duration

How long am I gone? How much time do I have to visit? When do I have free time? 

If my vacation is over a weekend, I don’t stress about skipping one day of exercise. If I’m gone longer, or other people aren’t as active, that’s when I get creative. 

Stairs. Always take the stairs. “I’ll meet you at the top!” Is a cheery way to complete an active activity without sounding judgemental. (Note I don’t recommend racing up ten flights of stairs in a nice outfit for formal dining, sweaty clothes is never classy) Ten minutes of running up and down stairs has worked really well for me when I haven’t had time for an intense workout session. Hotels and rented apartments usually have great stairs for exercising in. 

Suggest and invite others on walks or jogs if they are up to it. A favorite memory I have is running two miles on Thanksgiving morning with my sister-in-law before everyone else woke up. Champagne turkey never tasted so good! And we created an awesome memory. 

Youtube videos. I love a twenty min yoga video while on vacation. It ticks all the boxes of relaxing, self-love, and strengthening spirit and body. Not your thing? The number of workout videos is endless. Just specify no equipment in the search bar and you’re good to go. 

Head-to-toe body resistance. All I use is a kitchen or bathroom counter, but I can still hit all my major muscle groups. I start with neck circles, tri-cep dips, incline push-ups(because sometimes hotel floors do not inspire confidence), side stretches, chest and hip circles or isolations, squats, leg raises to the side, and the back and finish up with calf raises. Doing 2-3 sets of these really helps get the endorphins moving for me. And who doesn’t enjoy feeling good on vacation? 

Resistance bands can also provide a physical outlet in limited space situations. Not to mention they can improve flexibility. Google has some useful results for exercises depending on the type of resistance bands you purchase. 

If I am vacationing longer than a week I might consider a short-term or visitor gym pass. (Although if you are reading this in 2020, this might not work anyway.) Often guest passes are cheaper and you can try a variety of classes or even get a personal training session! 

The bottom line is exercise can be done on vacation! It may take some creativity and pre-planning, but exercising while on vacation can be a fun and rewarding part of a relaxing vacation. Always check with a healthcare professional for safety while exercising and:

Always take the stairs.