At the beginning of the year, many people set health goals they want to accomplish during the year. The more common goals include losing weight, eating healthy foods, working out more, drinking more water, and living a more active lifestyle. Vacations are often a benchmark for achieving those goals.
However, once you’re on vacation, your health goals often go on vacation, too—your routine changes since you are away from home and work. You may skip working out. If visiting family or friends, they may be insulted if you don’t finish a very full plate of home-cooked food. You may give your diet a break and indulge in not-as-healthy food. As a result, when you return home, you realize that your health goals suffered a setback and that you need to work harder to return to the pre-vacation form.
It is possible to maintain your health goals while on vacation. It takes some advance planning and preparation, but it’ll be worth it. Here are some tips to help you stay on track.
If you’re staying at a hotel, make use of the gym and pool. If you subscribe to a fitness app, look for no-equipment cardio and bodyweight strength classes that you can take in your hotel room. Consider packing a jump rope and a resistance band for a quick in-room workout. A short workout will energize you and raise your metabolism.
Look for workout classes at local gyms, community centers, or parks. Many classes are open to drop-ins who pay a single class or day pass fee. These classes allow you to get in a good workout and meet some of the locals. Don’t spend your entire vacation working out, but taking a class or two will keep you on track.
On vacation, most people overindulge when it comes to food. As a result, when they return home and step on the scale, they find that they have gained weight.
It is perfectly fine to splurge on one special meal while on vacation but eat sensibly the rest of the time. Skip dessert, make a meal out of an appetizer and a salad, or choose a healthier entree at a restaurant. At a buffet, limit yourself to one plate and don’t feel as if you have to try everything. Consider having a picnic at a park or a winery instead of eating lunch at a restaurant.
If you get hungry between meals, it is okay to enjoy a healthy snack. Healthy snacks include nuts, trail mixes, fruit, and nutrition or energy bars. Some food companies package nuts and trail mixes in individual serving packets. Keep a nutrition bar or packet of nuts with you while sightseeing.
Use a notebook or a food tracking app to record what you eat. This not only keeps you accountable, but it will help you determine if you need to reign in your eating or if you can enjoy a decadent meal.
In addition to a workout, incorporate another activity into your vacation. In most areas, you can walk or ride a bike. There are more options if you’re in a recreational, wooded, or resort area near the water.
Walking is a great way to explore a new city. In many cities, hotels are centrally located near major attractions, making it easy to sightsee. Some hotels and local tourism offices may have walking route maps. Guided walking tours are a good way to not only sightsee but to learn more about a city and its sites. Some cities have stands where you can rent a bicycle using a phone app. Bicycle shops may have rentals available.
In a wooded area, go for a hike. Go kayaking, paddle boarding, or surfing if you’re at the beach. In the mountains, try skiing, snowshoeing, or snowboarding. In many areas, you can take lessons and rent equipment. The key things are to keep moving, explore your surroundings, and appreciate the beauty of the area.
Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. If you’re active or in a hot and/or humid location, this is essential in order to avoid dehydration.
The simplest way to keep hydrated is to pack a reusable water bottle or container with you. Keep the bottle or container filled and have it handy wherever you go. If you want to add some flavor, infuse the water with lemons, limes, oranges, mint, or ginger.