1. Opt for Stairs
Whether in hotels or higher-altitude spots like the Eiffel Tower, leave the elevators behind and climb stairs. What a great calorie-burner!
2. Sight-See in Walking Shoes Instead of Taxis and Trolleys
From the magnificent parks of London to Tianamen Square, there’s often no better way to take in the joys, scents, and surprises of the cultures you’re visiting than on foot.
3. Play with the Kids
Go ahead, relax and sunbathe a little, but make sure you have some calorie-burning fun with the kids, too. Play “Marco Polo” in the pool. Go bikeriding. Shoot hoops. Pick up sea shells on the sea shore. Warm up those decades-old-but-you-never-lose-‘em ping pong skills. Chances are, you’ll have as much fun (maybe even more!) as the little ones.
4. Plan Movement Opportunities Into Every Day
Is the morning full of standing (and very little walking) in art museums and cathedrals? After lunch, take off for aerobic adventures. Go for a nice long walk along the park or shore. Or ask your hotel’s concierge for walking maps of the area. If you’re in unfamiliar territory, your concierge should also be able to point out safe, crime-free pedestrian routes.
5. Turn Airline Terminals Into Walking Tracks
Instead of sitting (you’ll be doing plenty of that on the plane), plug into your favorite music and march up and down the terminal. Sure, it’s not a full-blown workout, but every step counts. “With just 15 minutes of brisk walking, you can burn 100 calories and more,” says Scott Danberg, MS, Exercise Director at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa. Plus, all that walking may keep you from getting bored and ambling into the airport’s pizza stand.
6. Book for Fitness
When booking hotels, choose only those with fitness centers and/or guest passes to nearby gyms. If you can roll out of bed and roll into a gym minutes later, you’ll have given yourself the best insurance that you’ll fit fitness into each day. Plus, working out every morning will increase your motivation to eat more healthfully throughout the day.
7. Break Free – Explore New Possibilities!
Sure, it’s great to know there’s a gym just downstairs from your hotel room, but vacation’s also the time to have some fun! The kids want to hike up a mountain? Lace up your walking shoes! Are they bound for scuba/snorkeling class? Join in! Go paddling in river canoes. Learn salsa dancing. Play beach volleyball. Water ski. Anything that elevates the heart rate and allows you to have fun is a win/win situation.
8. Find Restaurants That Are Within Walking Distance From Your Hotel
Why take a taxi when you can enjoy a leisurely walk in the cool evening air to and from the restaurant? Plus, “walking after a meal is a wonderful way to help keep blood sugar levels down,” advises Robert Bauer, MD, diabetic specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center & Spa.
9. Aim for Fitness-Maintenance
While vacationing, you may not have as much time as you do at home for your regular workout, but that’s okay. Always remember: Doing something is a whole lot better than doing nothing at all, says Pritikin’s Scott Danberg. Shoot for at least 50% of your normal routine.
10. Savor the Rewards
Each day as you wake, anticipating the wonderful things you’ll be doing, the sights you’ll be seeing, remind yourself how great it feels to be able to walk, to move. “Travel imparts new vigor to the mind,” said the ancient Roman playwright Seneca. Because you’ve taken good care of yourself by staying fit, that vigor is yours!