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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Staying Fit on Vacation

Hopefully this summer, you get some time for a much needed vacation or two, and when you get out of town, it's very easy to get out of your fitness routine. If you're like me, the last thing you want to do is hole up in the hotel fitness center when you'd rather be checking out the local attractions and culture, which usually includes eating and drinking more indulgently than I would at home. Woops! And I also have a hunch that you also don't want to slide backwards on your fitness progress while enjoying yourself. You want to be able to feel good and fit on your vacation and be able to jump back into your fitness routine when you return home. So the question is, How do you live it up on vacation without destorying your hard earned tight body? I want to share some tips with you that I like to take on the road with me when I travel.

First, don't set your expectations too high for yourself. You're going to work out less. You're going to cheat on your diet. You're allowed to--you're on vacation. Focus on maintenance. Try to make it so you don't have a hole to dig yourself back out of when you return. For example, if you normally run every morning. Try to run every other morning, or every third morning on vacation. Or, if you don't feel like running, or the logistics are too difficult to figure out, just make sure you get in some good long walks while you're checking out the local area.

Next, bring along a resistance band. These weigh practically nothing, take up very little room in your suitcase, can be used just about anywhere, are very affordable, and are extremely useful for keeping your strength up to speed when you can't get your hand on any weights. Do a circuit a couple of times while you're out of town and I bet you'll find that you're not struggling when you hit the weights back home. They usually come with directions or you can find all kids of ideas by simply typing in resistance band workouts into an internet search engine. I like to do a full-body circuit going for high reps and I try to really concentrate on my form. Keep that heart rate up by not resting in between exercises and then resting for just a minute between circuits. Do 2-3 circuits. You can bust out a good workout in 20 minutes. Other great do-anywhere exercises include push-ups, sit-ups, dips, lunges, squats, and mountain climbers.

Third, move whenever possible. Walk on the non-moving walkway at the airport. Take the steps over the escalator, carry your own bags, park far away, etc. Keep reminding yourself throughout the day that it will pay off to squeeze in any random act of fitness you can get. Even the hotel pool can help you stay fit if you just hop in and move around a bit rather that sitting and watching others enjoy it. It will pay off. I have an aunt who loves to cruise and indulges when she does but she never gains a pound because she takes the steps rather than the elevator every time she changes floors. She never sets a foot in the gym though. Smart woman!

Fourth, keep your system running strong by making sure you drink tons of water. Don't ever let yourself get caught without a water bottle. You can never drink too much water. Keep your system flushed of toxins, keep your digestive system running more smoothly, and find yourself with more energy as a result of simply being hydrated. Trsut me, this one with make your vacation so much more enjoyable.

Finally, relax! Take some time to just give your body a break. If you can afford it, go for a massage or get a pedicure. If you want to save money, trade massages with your spouse or traveling partner. It just might lead to keeping your relationship in tip-top shape as well. Part of your total health includes emotional health and vacations are intended to help keep your mental and emotional health in shape, so let your vacation do it's job. Have fun!

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