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Integrating health and fitness into your lifestyle motivates you to maintain these good habits daily. Traveling and vacations can place obstacles in the middle of your fitness road. With some flexibility and adaptation, you needn’t sacrifice the fitness you have already built, or train so hard you don’t enjoy your time away. There are several great ways to exercise on holiday, whether you’re traveling for business or leisure.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could press a “pause” button, enjoy your time away and resume your exercise routine upon return to normality? Unfortunately, if you take this route, you risk losing the gains you have worked so hard to achieve. Luckily exercising while traveling or on vacation can be fun and exciting. 

Why should you exercise while traveling or on vacation? 

Of course, professional or serious athletes probably want to maintain their training routine when they’re traveling. But even for the “regular” gym goers who exercise a few times a week, keeping moving on holiday can be beneficial. Given fitness can deteriorate in as little as 12 days of inactivity, maintaining an exercise routine while traveling or on vacation will help you stay consistent and prevent any detraining.  It takes 66 days to build new habits. This habit-building relies on daily commitment, dedication, and consistency. 

If you allow traveling or a vacation to interrupt your fitness habit, you will likely lose this habit and experience a drop in motivation and consistency on your return to normality.  While a few extra days off here and there can be nice (and even beneficial) taking a long break can make it even harder to get back into your exercise routine when you’re home. 

Man exercising outdoor at kids park on holiday

Four easy ways to exercise on holiday

If you’re a runner, for instance, it’s quite easy to keep up your fitness routine. But if you do something which requires specialist equipment like skiing or weightlifting, you may have to switch your regime up. But either way, vacationing is an excellent opportunity to be creative with your exercise routine and get that heart pumping in new ways. 

Let’s look at some exercise options to maintain your fitness while traveling or on vacation. 

1. Sight-running tour 

Sight-running tours have soared in popularity over the past decade. Most large cities have running tours available. 

Sight-running tours are an ideal way to keep fit and see the sights simultaneously. Your running guide will ensure you don’t get lost and lead you on a picturesque route around the locality. They will also give you information about places of interest. 

Given that sight-running tours combine your exercise with sightseeing, you may gain a bit of time to spend at your pleasure. 

If you are traveling for business or a conference, it may be worth asking the organizers to arrange a morning sight-running tour. This experience will not only help you keep fit, but it will also serve as a team-building exercise. 

If you’re worried you won’t be able to keep up, a walking tour of the city or a hiking trip to a nearby attraction is a good option too. Adding in more steps is an easy way to maintain your fitness and to make sure you get in some exercise, so try to see as much as you can on foot. Not sure how else you can keep active? We have some tips on how to move more during the day, whether you’re traveling for business or leisure. 

Couple running in Rome past Colosseum

2. High intensity interval training workouts

High-intensity interval training, also known as HIIT, is a superb form of exercise when traveling or on vacation, as it doesn’t require any equipment and can be done anywhere. It helps improve strength and stamina and is an effective fat burner

HIIT sessions are short and sweet, so they are fantastic to slot in if you are time-poor. They are usually around 10 – 30 minutes in duration, making them a convenient option for incorporating into your exercise routine while away. Whether you do a short workout in your hotel room or at a local park doesn’t matter; there’s almost definitely somewhere you’ll be able to squeeze in some  dynamic body weight exercises such as burpees, mountain climbers, and squats, interspersed with rest periods. 

The internet is full of HIIT videos; a quick search will give you enough inspiration to add this as an option to your fitness toolkit. If you really want to bring some equipment to up the ante, throw some resistance bands into your bag. They can make any work out more intense and help you target specific muscles without needing weights. 

3. Local gyms, pools, and classes

You may have access to a gym, depending on where you are staying. If you don’t have a gym with your accommodation, it is worth researching the internet or asking on a community group for local gyms as many allow you to pay per visit. 

Yes, these gyms may not be to the same standard that you are used to. But they are better than nothing. 

Similarly, if your accommodation doesn’t have access to a swimming pool, there may be a public swimming pool accessible to you. Swimming is a phenomenal exercise to work the whole body. It increases your heart rate without placing stress on your body. It is also perfect for building strength and stamina. 

Or you could try to join a group class in the area you’re visiting. Many independent exercise classes allow you to join a class as a one-off. Yoga, pilates, spin, and aerobics are often on offer for short periods, trial classes, or even once-off drop in sessions. With a bit of planning, being away from home doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite activities. 

You might even be able to try out something unique to your destination which can count as part of the holiday experience – a salsa dancing class in Spain, a horse trail through the Australian outback, or a beginner’s scuba lesson in Thailand. 

Woman exercising at hotel gym while traveling

4. Activity-based vacations

Sometimes a vacation filled with chilling out by the pool or on the beach is precisely what you crave. Other times, you may want something a little more energetic. If you want to exercise on holiday, an active trip away could be just the ticket.

The opportunities to combine vacations with exercise are endless, from organized trail running holidays to mountain climbing, hiking and walking weeks, water sports vacations, cycling tours, and skiing trips. 

For many people, a change is as good as a break. Activity-based vacations may sound tiring, but they can be energizing and refreshing. Active holidays provide you with physical and psychological benefits. And you don’t need to be on the slopes or in the water for 10 hours a day, so you can always combine some exercise with more ‘traditional’ holiday activities. 

Perhaps you could consider something more adventurous next time you book a vacation. 

Legs of skiier on holiday

Wrapping up 

Good exercise habits don’t need to be interrupted when you travel or are on vacation. There are numerous options for getting in your exercise on holiday. Being away from home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your fitness completely. With some planning and openness, you won’t succumb to the detraining status. 

Remember to be kind to yourself. You may not be able to execute your usual exercise routine, which is perfectly ok. Permit yourself to focus on just moving your body in one way or another during this time instead of making gains; this will help you enjoy your time away without any unnecessary guilt. 

Words by Ali Hall

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