10 Easy Ways to Fit Exercise into Vacation Time

Summer often means vacation trips, and there are a lot of great benefits to getting away from it all. It’s a chance to get refreshed and recharged. But don’t let a trip derail your fitness goals!

You’ve heard of use it or lose it? Well, your body starts experiencing changes in as little as one week of inactivity. But no worries—if you can work in just a bit of exercise on vacation, you can avoid that.

It’s possible (and important!) to work in some brief, but effective, exercise while you’re vacationing. It takes some planning and a mindset to commit to it, but it’s well worth it.

Here are 10 ways to fit exercise into vacation time:

1. Reset your expectations

First, use some realistic expectations. You probably won’t be able to keep up your full workout routine while on vacation—and that’s okay! Fitting in just a little bit of exercise is better than doing nothing.

2. Plan ahead

Before you leave town, see what kind of workout facilities are offered by the hotels in the area. Most hotels now offer gym and pool facilities. You can also check out nearby parks and jogging trails.

Know what will be available before you get there. Also put some thought into when you’ll have time to fit in exercise and what type of workouts you can do. Planning will go a long way toward helping you get in some exercise.

3. Pack what you need for exercise

It doesn’t have to be much. A few t-shirts and running shorts, athletic shoes, headphones—maybe you’ll want to add a resistance band or a jump rope.

The resistance band can be used for upper and lower body strength-training exercises. The jump rope provides an intense cardiovascular workout in a short amount of time. Just make sure to pack what you’ll need.

4. Walk, walk, walk

Walk the airport, walk the hotel halls, walk to your excursions if possible. Take your walking outdoors to check out local parks and trails. Ask the hotel staff about safe nearby routes for walking. And the most fun of all—a great way to explore a new place is by taking a walking tour.

5. Bodyweight exercises are always available

The great thing about bodyweight exercises (aside from the fact that they’re incredibly effective) is that you can do them in your hotel room or outside. You’re not at the mercy of a gym or the weather, and you need no equipment.

Bodyweight exercises include lunges, squats, sit-ups, push-ups, jumping jacks, planks, etc.

6. Don’t feel like you need to put in long workout sessions

You can split up your daily exercise into smaller portions. Maybe you could do a short session of bodyweight exercise in your hotel room in the morning, a swim or other activity in the afternoon, and an evening walk to take in the sights.

7. Keep active as you travel to your destination and back home

Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, you may have to sit for long periods. On your travel days, wear your athletic shoes. That way you can walk around the airport while waiting for your flight, especially if there’s an unexpected delay. If you’re driving, take breaks to get out and stretch.

8. Take advantage of your hotel’s gym

Most people don’t use the hotel gym, no matter how nice it is. A recent survey from the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration showed that only 22% of guests used the fitness center during their stay, despite good intentions (46% said they planned to work out). So, you’ll probably have the place to yourself!

And remember, you don’t have to spend a lot of time in the gym—20 to 30 minutes is enough time if you’re putting in maximum effort and keeping the intensity up.

9. Don’t just lay poolside–get in!

Lounging by the pool is a common activity during vacation. But why not hop in the pool every half-hour for a swim? Or if you don’t want to swim, walk through water that is higher than waist deep. The simple act of moving against the water’s resistance will provide a workout.

10. Get adventurous

Try something new on vacation and get in some exercise while you’re at it.

  • Walk on the beach
    Walking in soft sand burns more calories than walking on flat ground. Some experts suggest that you can burn twice as many calories walking in soft sand.
  • Surf and snorkel
    Surfing is a total body workout. Even if you’re not an accomplished surfer, just paddling out to the waves is good exercise. Snorkeling is a bit more leisurely, but you can add intensity by swimming a little harder.
  • Explore with bike rides
    Bikes are a great way to see new sights while getting ​in some exercise.
  • Hike
    Anytime you add elevation to your walks, you’re getting good exercise. There are beautiful hiking areas even by major metropolitan areas.

Have fun and keep moving!

It’s true that a walking tour or a quick set of bodyweight exercises won’t equate to a full workout session. But you don’t need to match the workouts you’re doing at home when you’re on vacation. Get away from the “all or nothing” mindset and realize that any exercise you get on vacation is better than nothing.

If you are using one of our personal trainers at Jesse James Fit or Outlaw FitCamp, talk to them about your travel plans. They can help you with specific, individualized suggestions on the best way to maintain your fitness while out of town. 

It takes some planning and dedication, but you can—and should—fit exercise into your next vacation!