After that never ending winter season, it seemed as though summer was going to be bypassed and we were headed straight to fall. But alas, summer has greeted us with its long, sunny days and warm nights. For many of us, summer time also means family vacations. The best thing about vacation is just that; a vacation! A welcomed break from normal life and from our everyday duties and responsibilities. But too easily we allow any and all former responsibilities to go out the window the moment our vacation begins. Unfortunately, our fitness and nutrition habits go out that window as well. In fact, they might be the first to go.

Let’s be honest, no one wants to spend time on a treadmill when they are on vacation, and surely no one wants to forfeit those tropical umbrella drinks on the beach, or those nachos at the stadium, but the repercussions of completely ignoring your exercise and eating habits might not be worth it in the long run. This is where moderation and self-discipline come in.

The first thing to think about in your itinerary is to make time for a quick 30 minute workout each day, or every other day. Whether it’s just before breakfast at the hotel gym, running along a beach, or a few rounds of calisthenics in your room. These 30 minutes won’t cut into your vacation, and will help you feel even more rejuvenated and ready for the day ahead.

  • Consider not hailing a cab or taking a subway, but choosing to walk instead.
  • Another great alternative you will find in many tourist cities are bicycles available to rent by the hour.
  • Consider taking the stairs at airports, hotels, museums, and shopping centers instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • If you are vacationing somewhere that offers day trips or excursions, book one that involves some sort of cardio, such as, surfing, mountain biking, hiking, or climbing.

To help stay on track with your healthy eating habits, pack your own snacks from home. Things like almonds, granola, and apples will travel well and are easy to store since they do not require a fridge. And an added bonus is the money you will save from the inflated food prices elsewhere.

Many restaurants have designated “healthy” sections on their menus now, which usually include smaller portions and less unnecessary fats such as cheese, sour cream, fries, sauces, etc. Moreover, depending where you are, many restaurants are required to label the calories next to the menu items as well. However, if you find yourself out to eat with no idea where to look and what to order, do not panic! Order something you will enjoy, but substitute unhealthy sides with healthy options, or forgo the sides all together and stick to the main dish. Don’t add extras such as barbeque sauces or ranch, which are full of sugars and sodium, instead add fresh vegetables or oils. And, of course, always sick with water.

The most important thing to remember is that you are the only one who hurts when the trip is over and real life begins again. When you find yourself at the gym post-vacation, do you want to feel proud that you embraced what is it like to live a healthy lifestyle no matter the circumstances, or do you want to feel sluggish and tired knowing your body is in desperate need of some attention and leafy greens?

There are many ways to stay on track and not sacrifice your fun at the same time. If you are like me with a weakness for soft pretzels with extra salt, choose a day that you will buy yourself that treat and then stop there. Don’t add on a large soda, or follow it up with an ice cream cone. Enjoy your pretzel and salt in all its delicious glory, knowing you deserve it because you are healthy.

It is not easy to stare temptation in the face and walk away a winner, but the more you practice saying no to those funnel cakes and churros at Disneyland, the easier it will become. Each minor victory is a step towards a healthier lifestyle and a happy, healthy mind!

Micah Larsen

Micah is a traveling swim coach and personal trainer, depending on the season. She is also currently working on her Master of Science in Athletic Administration and Coaching. Micah loves to live an active lifestyle, whether she is competing in open water swims, running a road race, practicing yoga, or biking with her dogs. The main objective in her career is to... Read More

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