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Take an Active Vacation

Vacations are a time for relaxation. But being on vacation does not mean you have to sabotage your exercise routine. An active vacation can be more enjoyable and just a little bit of activity every day will leave you feeling refreshed.

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There are plenty of reasons for staying active during vacations. If you have just started exercising, the break can become permanent. Many people find it hard to go back to exercise after a week or two off. On the other hand, an active vacation might kickstart a dormant exercise routine. Staying active can allow you to see and experience more things than you would if you spent your time lying by the pool. Active vacations can be more economical. A week of camping and hiking is much cheaper than a week at a resort. Taking a self guided walking tour of a city is cheaper than a bus tour. Being active helps you to sleep better so you will finish your vacation feeling rested and refreshed. 

Many of us have good intentions when it comes to our vacations. We say, "There is a fitness center in the hotel" , "I will walk a lot" or "I promise I will eat salads at the buffet". Sometimes this does happen and its great when it does. Other times we find that the hours of the fitness center don't work for us or the resort we are staying at is not in a very walkable area. We need to find alternatives. The best way to ensure we get some exercise is to plan ahead. Here are some of the ways I have found to make my summer or winter vacations more active.

Go for morning runs or walks

woman jogger jogging sportI love to run so this is easy for me. I have run in Hawaii, Oregon, Florida, Paris, London, Amsterdam, and Seoul. I usually get up early and get out for my run before the rest of the family is up. The mornings are usually quite peaceful and cool. It also lets you discover areas around your hotel you might not normally see. If you have a GPS running watch, track your runs on Strava. It is pretty cool seeing a map of your run in a place far from home. Don't forget to pack comfortable shoes. 

To make this successful check out Google Earth or Google maps for street view images to see if this will work in the area you have chosen. Local walking and running groups will often post suggested routes online. 


Plan a multi day cycling trip. 

Bikes on ferryLast summer my family spent part of a trip to Europe on a cycling tour.  We had a semi supported tour where bikes and routes were provided and our luggage was transported to our next hotel. You can go on guided tours or you can organize it yourself and carry all your belongings with you. With supported and semi supported tours, the routes are usually rated by difficulty so you can choose one that is appropriate for your group.  This is a great way to see the country side and many smaller towns you wouldn't normally see with a regular vacation. If the idea of multiple days on a bike doesn't appeal to you, you can often rent a bike for a day and go exploring.

Take a hike

mountain trailIf your family is like mine and loves camping then this is probably an easy one for you. National, provincial and state parks are full of great trails for hiking. It is a great way to get away from crowds and see some nature. You can even find places in the middle of the city for hiking. Make sure everyone in the group is wearing proper footwear and check at visitor centers for information such as bear warnings or trail closures. If you are less experienced with hiking many parks offer guided hikes. The pace is usually easy, you'll probably learn some interesting things about the area and you won't have to worry about getting lost.

If nature is not your thing then walking tours in a city might be. These can be guided or self guided as well. You can use taxis or public transportation to get from place to place.

Try some beach activities

If you are planning a trip to a steamy tropical destination, then walking or cycling might not seem very appealing. Early morning or evenings are the best time for activity in the tropics. A stroll along the beach at sunset can be magical. Other options include renting a stand up paddle board, or going snorkling. 


If you are staying at a resort then there may be a golf course. Mountain areas often have beautiful scenery at golf courses. Playing a round of golf, especially if you are walking if a good way to keep active.


A ski trip is a great active vacation, but some skill is required. Many ski hills offer lessons so if you haven't skiied much, this is a good idea. Cross country skiing is a better workout and requires less skill than downhill, but lacks the excitement. If you are inexperienced, then joining a group, or skiing in a well mapped and well signed area is recommended. 

If you are with a group that is skiing and you feel that skiing requires too much skill, you might want to try snow shoeing. Many areas that rent skis also rent snowshoes. Just be sure to stay on trails recommended for snow shoeing.

Plan for an alternative to the fitness center

Lets face it. Nobody wants to spend a vacation in a hotel fitness center. They are often tiny, dark spaces with limited equipment. Plan a body weight workout you can do in your hotel room or outside. Some ideas - use a park bench to do step ups, pushups on the floor, lunges, planks, burpees, etc. Some resorts offer great fitness or yoga classes so check these out as well.

You don't have to go to a lot of extra expense or planning to take an active vacation. Spend a bit of time researching the possibilities before you leave. Pack comfortable shoes so you can do lots of walking and don't be afraid to try a new adventure.

Staying active on your vacation is one way to avoid weight gain. If you are looking for more ways to lose weight during menopause then download this free guide to weight loss during menopause.

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