Vacation is often associated with a few extra pounds and post-vacay trips to the gym. While relaxing and indulging have their place in the vacation experience, what if we changed the narrative and viewed our holiday time as an opportunity to do something(s) good for our health? Maybe even come back with a new hobby or activity to incorporate into our everyday! Read on for five ways to stay active on vacation…
1. Walk. Everywhere.
Walking is the simplest, easiest form of exercise. It’s also a free method of transportation! Walking is my go-to plan for getting around a city. I intersperse some trips on the metro here and there to help me cover more distance, but there is something about walking that really makes me feel a part of a place and allows me to get to know it better. I like to turn all the sights on my must-see/do list into a route (a route for each day, if I’m doing a multi-day trip), then use that route as my general walking guide. This better ensures I actually make it to everywhere I want to go while also allowing for the flexibility of wandering and following my curiosity. I have found that walking is the best way to discover hidden gems that I’d never find otherwise.
If you don’t feel up to creating your own walking route or find a new city overwhelming to navigate on foot, look for local walking tours (chocolate- or foodie-themed walking tours allowed!). Just about every city has them, often led by locals, and they offer you a unique perspective of the city that the tour buses and guide books can’t match. You’ll hit your must-sees without having to put in the mental effort. As a plus, many walking tours are free or reasonably priced (please tip your guide!) and can be combined with other walking tours to create a complete city tour and one-of-a-kind experience.
Tip: Make sure you take the correct bag or backpack and don’t pack too much – this will help to avoid the risk of pulled and sore muscles, especially the day after. Also important – correct footwear!
2. Turn Sightseeing into a Sport
If you aren’t keen on walking everywhere or are more of an adrenaline junkie, try to schedule an active sort of sightseeing. Think canoeing, hiking, horseback riding, downhill skiing, surfing, or white water rafting. Doing an activity or sport gives you a unique and often less-touristy experience that is more exciting than walking for hours.
If you’re a hard-core sports enthusiast, you’ll probably enjoy creating an entire trip around your favourite sport. For example, bike across a country instead of driving, create a bucket-list of rivers to kayak, or climb all the mountain peaks in a specific region. Centering your holiday around a sport or activity gives it a central focus and turns it into a memorable experience.
3. Rent a Bike
Biking is easier to do for long periods of time than walking and allows you to cover more distance, more quickly. This is a great option if you want to explore a relatively large area or are short on time. Many cities have bike rentals available for any length of time, from a couple hours to all day, and usually include helmets and locks.
4. Watch Your Posture
Whether you’re sitting, walking, biking, hiking…correct posture is a little thing that can make a big difference. Traveling inevitably involves sitting, often for long periods of time, and maintaining good posture helps to alleviate the aches and soreness that can result. Good posture also helps maintain good blood flow and keeps you more alert so you don’t miss any highlights…or the next stop.
5. Join a Local Class
Whether you’re into yoga, barre, biking, or just like to hit the gym, signing up for a class or dropping into a local studio is a great way to add a level of “normalcy” to your holiday while staying active. It’s also a great opportunity to meet the locals in a non-touristy sort of setting. If you’re staying long-term, it may be worth signing up for a month or two of classes which will be more cost-efficient and give you a sort of accountability. If you try something new, chances are that there is a studio in your area that offers something similar, allowing you to take up a new hobby that you can enjoy regularly.
Staying active while on vacation doesn’t necessarily mean hitting the gym or require bringing special equipment. It can be as simple as walking instead of driving, trying a new outdoor activity, renting a bike, sitting straight, or doing a class with the locals. Whatever appeals to you, do it – and you may come back feeling healthier for it!
– katrina elise