On the heels of the holidays and trying to get back in to my normal eating routine and finding time to restart regularly exercising. As much as the thought of exercising makes me want to grab a piece of cheesecake and curl up on the couch with the dog, I know it’s in my best interest to see it through. Somehow, I always come back from vacation with the best intentions to exercise more and walk everywhere, like I do while I’m sightseeing, but then come home and totally fall back into my eat-dinner-on-the-couch-watching-tv-and-playing-games-on-the-computer mode.
While I need help getting motivated at home, I know a lot of people need help getting motivated while on vacation. I know traveling is fun and you don’t want to think about exercise or eating healthy while you’re supposed to be relaxing and leaving “reality” behind. Unfortunately, as much as I claim that calories don’t count on vacation, they truly do. This is why I walk as much as I possibly can. If you have a regular routine where extra walking really won’t benefit you and you want to keep on track, here are a few ideas for packing equipment in your carry-on, without taking much room away from things you really want to take, like underwear and shoes.
Yoga – Many people are into yoga and it’s great for relaxation, working your core and increasing your flexibility. A yoga mat is easily transportable, but you can also bring along a DVD and some packable yoga items, like a block (though you can use things you’ve found in your room) and yoga socks and gloves that can prevent slippage. I recently bought a friend a yoga set that came with a resistance band for strengthening. I bring along a yoga strap that helps your stretch out and get into poses more easily. It’s great for helping you distress after a long day of walking.
Jump rope – This is an easily packable item and gets you great exercise anywhere you have some extra room. Not just little kids love to jump rope. It’s fun and helps you tone and keep in shape. Make sure you buy a nicely weighted one that will stand up to the rigors of the road, but will also do the job, like this one that has removable handle weights.
Boxing – You don’t have to bring along full gear and a punching bag, but a pair of weighted gloves is a fabulous way to tone your arms and legs. Bring along a DVD to pop in your laptop or just search for a few good training videos that you can use. I have a nice pair that I bought for a cardio game I play on Wii, but I have also used them when doing regular exercise and they are awesome. They are pink and sporty, but are adjustable, so they can be used by everyone in your travel party.
Running – You’re going to bring along a pair of walking shoes anyway, so why not make them running shoes that are also good for walking. If you run at home, then keep your routine set and get up early to run around the block or the hotel grounds.
Swimming – If you are a swim freak, like my husband is, then you might be way more interested in using the on-site pool for your workout. Early mornings are a great time to get in your laps without having to dodge waders and cannonballing children. Make sure you pack your suit, so you’re prepared! Even if the pool isn’t good, you may have a choice of a lake or the ocean, depending on where you’re vacationing.
Hit the gym – A lot of hotels, timeshares and resorts have free gym access. Use the treadmill, weight machines and more to get in as much exercise as you need. Packing a spare pair of running shorts and workout top is easy and you’ll probably already bring along your ipod (or similar), so you’ll have something to entertain you, whether it be your favorite music or an audio book.
Make your lodging a gym – There are so many exercise videos online that you can use to switch up your workout and do in your room with just a little bit of room to move. Another thing you can do is get a set of resistance bands which you can use to do many different exercises, as well as with the assistance of any sturdy door. Does your lodging have stairs? If so, then make some time to run up and down them several times. As long as you aren’t annoying your travel companions, this is super cheap and nothing to pack!
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Go dancing – Enjoy a few nights out on the town while you dance to local music and maybe even make some new friends. What a way to exercise without realizing you are doing it. Some cities have free dance lessons on certain evenings, so you can learn new steps of the region your're traveling in.
Do you have some good travel exercise tips? Do you use any of the above ideas?