10 Ways to Stay in Shape on Vacation

Jacqueline Ho Jun 24th, 2014 (updated Jan 8th, 2015)
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Vacations are a time for fun, food and—let’s face it—weight gain. Even if you’ve gotten into shape for the summer, it can be difficult to stay on track when you’re faced with tons of food options and tasty beverages. Here are 10 tips on how to enjoy your vacation without undoing all of your hard work.

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Be an early bird
Be an early bird

If you are planning on spending most of your day with family or friends, it might be difficult to find time to hit the gym. Get your day started by rising early and going for a run or swimming a few laps, then meet everyone for a healthy post-workout breakfast. Exercising in the morning will also help energize you for the day and kick start your metabolism. 

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Use your surroundings
Use your surroundings

Depending on where you’re vacationing, chances are that there’s some kind of activity right outside your door. Vacationing in the Caribbean? Go snorkeling. Staying at a cabin in the mountains?  Take a long hike. Working out doesn’t always mean going to the gym; in fact, taking advantage of your surroundings can be a lot more fun.

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Sightsee on foot
Sightsee on foot

Many companies offer the opportunity to take in the sights via tour bus, trolley or ferry. But why not sightsee on foot? Get a map of the area you wish to see, lace up a good pair of walking or running shoes and take in the sights while burning calories. If you don’t care for walking, look into cycling tours.

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Be adventurous
Be adventurous

Vacations are a great time to try something new. Look into standup paddleboarding, which is a great full-body workout or give water skiing a shot. Pushing yourself to do something you’ve never done—or something you might even be afraid of doing—can be good for both your body and your mind.

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Use stairs
Use stairs

Whenever you can, look for opportunities to use the stairs instead of elevators or escalators. Although it might not seem worth it, the steps and calories you burn add up over the course of a few days or a week. You can get an extra heart rate boost by running up and down the stairs and by adding a few lunges.  

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Have a goal
Have a goal

It might not be easy to lose weight while on vacation, but it can be realistic to not gain any weight. Rather than set unrealistic goals, aim to simply maintain your weight and fitness levels throughout your vacation. You are more likely to make healthy choices when your goal is realistic and you’ll have more time to enjoy yourself rather than obsess over your weight.

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Limit alcohol
Limit alcohol

There’s nothing wrong with letting loose and having a cocktail or two, but keep a close eye on your alcohol intake. Calories from drinks can quickly add up, especially those from mixed drinks. If you have a drink, opt for a glass of red wine or a lite beer, which has less sugar and fewer calories than say, a pina colada.

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Stay away from buffets
Stay away from buffets

You often hear people at buffets say that they’re trying to get their money’s worth, but doing so isn’t very good for your waistline. If you must eat at a buffet, first take a walk  and plan what healthy foods you are going to eat before you grab a plate. If you’re someone who has a difficult time practicing self-control, you may want to stay away from buffets all together.

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Plan ahead
Plan ahead

To stay fit on vacation, it really helps to plan ahead. Look for hotels with fitness facilities or a pool with lanes for lap swim. Search the area’s restaurants, look for healthy menu options and plan where you want to dine. If your room has a kitchen, go grocery shopping and make a few healthy home cooked meals.

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Use your hotel room
Use your hotel room

If you don’t have time to hit the gym or go out for a two-hour excursion, you can always do a quick workout in your hotel room. If you’re waiting for someone to get out of the shower or get ready, try doing a 15-20 minute full-body interval workout consisting of sit-ups, push-ups, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, planks, squats and walking lunges.