How To Stay Fit On Vacation
Going on vacation can certainly shake up your usual fitness routine. Between sightseeing, trying new culinary dishes, relaxing, and making new memories, you might not have time to stick to your usual workout plans—and that’s okay. Wavering from your usual exercise routine while on vacation, however, doesn’t mean you can’t still maintain a healthy lifestyle while enjoying your trip to the fullest.
We’ve put together our top tips on how to stay fit on vacation, even if you don’t have a gym available to you.
How to Stay Fit on Vacation
The first step to staying fit on vacation is to pack the right clothes. This includes running shoes, shorts or leggings, an athletic top, a sports bra, athletic socks, and a bathing suit (if you plan on doing any water activities). You won’t be able to work out or be overly active if you only pack sundresses, slacks, and flip-flops.
You can’t stay fit on vacation if you don’t have a plan. Check ahead of time to see if your accommodations have a gym, pool, studio, or any sort of fitness facility. If they don’t, get familiar with the hotel’s surroundings—are there any parks or trails nearby? Be proactive about your vacation fitness and plan to maintain a healthy fitness regimen by scheduling your workouts. This type of structure will help you keep fit while you’re away from home.
Fitness apps make working out while you’re abroad very simple. It’s like having a fitness class or personal trainer in your pocket. Because it’s so easy to log in and do a workout, there’s no excuse to not be active during your trip.
Part of your trip planning can include saving specific workouts that you can do while you’re on your vacation. Saving workouts ahead of time will help you maximize your time abroad. Look for workouts that are bodyweight only—like cardio, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, no equipment strength training, and more.
Pro tip: Choose a fitness app that requires very little for your workout, such as MIRROR. Our app has thousands of bodyweight workout classes that provide a great workout to keep you fit while you're traveling.
If you’re staying somewhere that doesn’t have a fitness facility or nearby gyms, you can always pack smaller pieces of fitness equipment to increase the intensity of your workouts and go beyond simply doing bodyweight exercises.
Key items to include:
- Resistance bands: Resistance bands take up next to no space in your luggage and are lightweight. They’re great for anyone traveling light or traveling by plane. Try to bring 2-3 bands of varying resistance if possible but at the very least, pack one challenging resistance band for your travels. The added resistance will help take your bodyweight vacation workouts to the next level and help you maintain your strength.
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- Heart rate monitor: Heart rate monitors are compact enough to fit in even the smallest piece of carry-on. This small but mighty piece of fitness technology tracks your heart rate, recovery, calories burned, and VO2 max to optimize your vacation workout.
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- Mini foam roller: If you’re walking a lot on your vacation, you’ll be thankful you brought your foam roller—they’re great for rolling out sore and tight muscles. Mini foam rollers are compact enough to fit into larger suitcases or in a vehicle (if you’re traveling by car).
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- Ankle weights: Like resistance bands, ankle weights are perfect for adding extra resistance to your vacation workouts (e.g. when doing an online barre class or sculpt class). You can use them during a hotel room workout or while you’re out for a leisurely walk to challenge your muscular endurance. Ankle weights are perfect for vacations taken by car, train, bus, or boat, and can even work when traveling by plane as long as your suitcase isn’t too close to the weight limit.
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MIRROR has all the fitness equipment and accessories you need to stay fit on your vacation.
If your accommodations are equipped with a fitness facility or you are staying close to a local gym, be sure to take full advantage. From fitness machines and larger weights and equipment to swimming pools and squash courts, you’ll be able to maintain your healthy habits by visiting these facilities during your stay.
Whether your hotel has a pool or you’re vacationing close to a beach or a rec center, don’t be afraid to jump in and get wet. Swimming is a great way to get in some low-impact movement and cardiovascular exercise during your vacation. Aim to swim for 15 to 30 minutes every other day to help keep you fit on your vacation.
Depending on where you’re vacationing, you might be able to go on some nature hikes. Hiking is a great way to stay fit on vacation because they usually involve an uphill climb, and you often get to enjoy the payoff of a beautiful view at the top or a waterfall. We recommend using apps like AllTrails or Cairn to find hiking trails near you.
One of the simplest ways to get a cardiovascular workout while on vacation is to simply go for a run. This is as easy as packing your running shoes, your heart rate monitor, your athletic clothes, and your headphones. Wherever you’re vacationing, we can almost guarantee you that there will be a place to run—whether that be on a sidewalk, a running path, a trail, or a treadmill.
Staying fit on vacation doesn’t always have to be as serious and structured as doing a hotel room workout or visiting a gym. Moving your body can also be spontaneous and involve fun activities such as:
- Beach volleyball
- Water skiing
Whatever you do, just move your body. If you break a sweat, that’s a bonus. But maintaining your mobility while on vacation is one of the most important things to staying fit.
If you’re faced with a decision between taking the stairs or taking an elevator or escalator, always choose the stairs. This small act adds up over time and helps you maintain your fitness level while you’re away from your usual routine.
Take in the sights by signing up for a walking tour or renting a bike. These are great options to help you stay healthy and fit during your vacation while also enjoying the sights and sounds of the new place you’re visiting.
Vacation highlights often include the food. Getting to eat local food and try regional dishes is all part of getting a true cultural experience. But overindulging on vacation can often mean weight gain that’s even more difficult to lose once you get back home. What they say is true: you can’t outrun or out-train a bad diet—even on vacation.
Since food is 80% of the battle when it comes to staying in shape, it’s best to plan your meals ahead of time. Having a plan helps you enjoy the foods you want to eat while keeping things on the healthier side and not depriving yourself of the local culinary experience. This could look like booking accommodations with a kitchenette in order to cook your own healthy meals, researching restaurants with options that fit your dietary needs before your trip, or having substitutes in mind when you go out to eat to reduce the fat and sugar content of your meals.
As well, time flies when you’re exploring a new city and you can easily end up missing meals. That’s why it’s important to pack snacks so you don’t end up starving yourself. Going without food for extended periods of time can lead to consuming an unhealthy amount of calories at your next meal or opting for something unhealthy while you're out because you can't find anything else. Pack healthy snacks like fruit, mixed nuts, and protein bars to help you maintain healthy eating habits while on vacation.
Just like missing meals, you can easily forget to drink enough water while on vacation. Even easier is confusing dehydration for hunger. Staying hydrated helps you not overindulge.
Bring a refillable water bottle with you if you’re traveling somewhere where you can drink the tap water. If not, pack some water bottles in your backpack to make sure you don’t go thirsty.
Vacation can be a time to let loose and have a few cocktails, but alcohol contains around 7 calories per gram (almost as many as pure fat). Be sure to pace yourself and indulge in the liquid calories in moderation.
How Can I Stay Fit on Vacation Without a Gym?
Staying fit while on vacation is easier than you may think! Without a gym, your options may include working out in your hotel room, using a fitness app, going for a run, sightseeing by foot or by bike, and more. For hotel room workouts you can use a fitness app that guides you through a variety of bodyweight exercises, such as push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, and more. You can even pack small exercise equipment items such as resistance bands to make your workouts even more challenging.
Stay Fit on Vacation with the MIRROR App
MIRROR’s app allows you to stream thousands of workout classes from your hotel room, the hotel gym, the beach, or wherever you want to work out. Select the style and duration of the workout you want and our instructors will guide you through a workout that is guaranteed to help you stay fit while you’re away.
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