Re-thinking Vacation Exercise
Over the next few weeks, I like many others am planning my summer vacation. My family of four spends one full week at a cottage each year. Our days consist of entirely too much coffee in the am, jumping in lakes, lounging on chairs, daily walks to the ice cream store and other totally chilled out adventures.
Yes, you heard me correctly. I do eat ice cream on vacation, but more about that later. I have so many fond memories of these vacations and look forward to this week every single year.
As a lover of all things health and fitness, I really try to keep some balance when it comes to my food and exercise even on my holidays.
I DON’T believe that you should spend your vacation killing yourself with vigourous workouts.
I DO however believe that it's important to incorporate some form of exercise into it. If I am away for a week, I aim to get at least 3, 30 minute “workouts” done.
My only rule is that I have to like the exercise I am doing (and yes that is possible.) This is also what I recommend for my clients as well. Anything over and above this is just icing on the cake. These workouts don’t need to be anything ridiculously formal. Vacations are a time of fun. Do things that you love that also happen to be active.
Here are a couple of fun ways to stay fit on your holidays:
Stand up paddle boarding (also called SUP)
Yoga on the dock or beach (or a more private location if you prefer)
Bodyweight training (think squats, planks, pushups etc)
Resistance Band Training
Try a new exercise class if you are near a gym or on a resort that provides them. ( I did this in Mexico and it was awesome! )
So this may all sound great on paper but it can be difficult to actually get your butt off the Adirondack chair once you get to your destination. So let’s talk about why this is beneficial.
I have taken vacations where my only activity consisted of bringing my hand from the chip bag to my mouth. It’s embarrassing but true. Hey, I am human too!
I have ALSO been on vacations where I kept up with moderate workouts, ate fairly normal AND indulged from time to time (see ice cream and smores). I am here to tell you that the latter is far better for a number of reasons:
1) My pants fit when I come home (or are only a little tighter)
All the extra calorie burn from my workouts balances out the smores. This alone motivates me but wait, there's more!
2) I am a much nicer person to be around for my family and YOU probably will be too
Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. This proved true on my honeymoon when my husband actually sent me for a work out because I was such a grumpy pants. I came back from the gym sweaty, stress free and happy. Mission complete.
3) I don’t NEED to nap in the afternoon. (but I still may since I’m on holidays)
We have way more energy when we are active which may seem counterintuitive but it’s true. I don't know about you but I want to see and do cool things on my holidays (along with the odd nap). The workouts give me the energy I need to take on the adventures of the day (and keep up with my kids!)
4) I make better food choices
I am much more inclined to order a side salad rather than fries if I am taking care of my body. I am more in tune with what my body needs when I take care of it. Sometimes your body actually asks you for salad. If you are listening, you will hear it. All this helps with the pants fitting thing too.
5) It’s much easier to return to your regular workout routine once holidays are over
Ever skip a few weeks of workouts? Think of the feeling of dread you feel when you slip back into your kicks for the first workout back. It’s not pretty. There is a lot to be said for momentum. Vacation exercise not only keeps you in the “fit” mind set, it keeps your muscles from turning to mush and it makes the return to normal workouts less daunting.
So as we head off to our cottages, campgrounds, European vacations (can I come?!), consider re-thinking your vacation workout strategy. You don’t have to put in a ton of time to reap the above benefits.
Rethink the idea that a workout could actually be fun. You might actually like it. Workouts get a bad rap because we think they need to be torturous to be effective. Keep it simple. Do something you love. Ride a bike, jump in a lake, explore the beautiful scenery. Your body and mind will thank you for it!
Ready to try something new?
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Cool let’s do this!!!