The simple answer is YES! Absolutely you should be working out on vacation! But let me lay out for you some of the excuses you may come up with as to why working out on vacation just won't work.
Full disclosure… these reflections come my most recent to Europe which is my first trip abroad since really overhauling my lifestyle to be one focused on health and fitness. The cities I visited are Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), Frankfurt (this and all the rest are in Germany), Munich, Fusson, and Berlin, with a side trip to Salzburg (Austria). My travel was entirely done by train once landing in Paris, and I traveled with an omnivore friend who is also focused on a healthy lifestyle and willing to do things like workout with me and balance the types of foods we ate.
Problem: I get dehydrated. Re-usable water bottles are heavy to carry around all day, it can get expensive quickly to have to purchase water where you go, and Europe often charges a fee to use restrooms if you’re not already a paying customer or paying to visit a museum/site. Not to mention it’s hard to run around if you constantly need to stop to pee.
Solutions: Drink a lot of water at night before you go to bed. While not ideal to have to wake up in the middle of the night, at least you will replenish your body from the day and set yourself up to start the next day well hydrated. Going to be spending a lot of time on a train one day? Great, drink up! This is the perfect time to drink a lot and have ready access to a free bathroom. I found packing my regular (21 oz.) water bottle to be used during travel and at night was extremely useful because it was easy to fill up from the bathroom sink. Invest in a small, lightweight water bottle that will fit in your purse or satchel. I kept a plastic 14oz re-fillable water bottle with me in my purse at all times. Each day I filled it up in the morning and made sure it was gone by the time I got back to the hotel at night. Not enough water to truly keep me hydrated, but it definitely helped stave off some of the negative effects of dehydration. Take advantage of every free bathroom you find. Honestly, it seems silly, but every time I was in a museum or at a site, I used the bathroom. It keep me comfortable and able to fill up on water if I was getting desperate and needed to buy a bottle. Beware the sparkling water! This is just a personal preference, because I don’t care for sparkling water, but it is important to know, like it or not, if that’s what you’re buying. Often you’ll find the same brand with two very similar looking bottles next to each other on the counter. Look for “still” if you want regular, flat water. Otherwise, you’ll probably hear some fizz when you open the bottle.
Problem: I have no space or time for a workout.
Solution: I’ll be honest, these are just excuses! While I brought my laptop on the trip to be able to work better, a tablet of any kind will work just as well. Plenty of workouts require very little room and we were able to have two of us working out in our hotel rooms without too much trouble. A good internet connection and you will be on your way to streaming workouts. I enjoyed using my Beachbody On Demand because I got to pick from my favorite workouts and stream them straight from my laptop or iPad mini. Don’t think you have time? 20-30 minutes can do wonders for you! Sure, you may be walking around all day and maybe even hiking up a lot of steps or hillsides, but trust me when I tell you getting a good workout in and stretching will keep your body feeling good and moving well throughout the entire trip. It can be a great way to get your day going, or a way to relieve some muscular tension at night. I found doing PiYo was great for my shoulders and upper back which were always a little unhappy with me from carrying my purse, backpack, and/or entire luggage.
Problem: But I don’t have enough space to pack workout clothes and shoes!
Solution: Yep, that’s another excuse! We stuck to low impact workouts, so shoes were not required (if there’s not jumping, you don’t really need to worry about too much impact on your feet or joints). As for extra clothes? Well, workout clothes are designed to dry quickly. Katie and I each packed two pairs of workout shorts and two sports bras. Honestly, it took up practically no room in my luggage and after a couple of wears, we’d rinse them out and hang them up to dry when we were in one place for more than a night. Totally worth it to get in a good workout and make sure we were sweating regularly. Oh yeah, don’t forget to sweat! Low impact is fine, but make sure it’s enough to get you to work up a sweat. Traveling, you’re skin is being exposed to all sorts of new toxins, and if you’re like me, you’re probably indulging in a few more sweets and drinks than usual. Sweating is a natural and easy way for your body to detox.
Problem: But my vacation is a time for me to RELAX, so I shouldn't ruin that by working out.
Solution: OK, you almost have me there. I agree that resting the body is important and we definitely tend to run ourselves into the ground too much. But here's the thing, working out is ALWAYS good for relieving stress, increasing energy, boosting mood, and helping you sleep better. Not to mention the chance to really connect mind and body. Don't want to do high intensity workouts? Alright, I'll buy that. But yoga, Pilates, or PiYo would be great ways to stretch, strengthen, and find balance while on a relaxing vacation.
Bottom Line: Yes you SHOULD workout while on vacation!
I'm Amanda K; lover of fitness, sweets, veggies, adventure, travel, and happiness.