As you work on your bikini bods in preparation for summer vacation, you’re probably daydreaming of yourself on the beach, sippin’ mai tais and filling up on the delicious local fare of your dream destination. After all, you would have pushed yourself all spring at the gym to get in shape and put in your time at the office, so it will finally be your chance to relax and enjoy your time off, right?
Take it from someone who’s found it hard to pass up the pu pu’s, I know we all tend to indulge when we are away traveling. However, I have actually found that most often, I’m also the most active when I’m traveling on vacation, and I don’t even have to try too hard to do so. It just ends up being that the activities we’ve built into our itinerary as fun things to do end up burning calories, logging steps and ultimately, positively contributing to overall health and well-being instead of sabotaging it.
Reshaping What it Means to Vacation
Why does vacationing have to be something that ruins our bodies instead of allowing them to heal? We need to use this time to recharge more than ever, especially since Americans are using less of their vacation time, and often, even when they vacation, they are still connected to the office. How many times have we come back from a vacation and then gone into “detox” mode, when really, a vacation is meant to help you feel fresh and reenergized physically, mentally, and emotionally when you get back? You should not need a vacation to recuperate from your vacation!
Everyone’s idea of a travel holiday is different, and I can certainly appreciate those moments when one simply wants to lounge, comatose. However, when you start to think of some activities as a luxury— as something you get to do for yourself— you start to reap the relaxation you require and even come back to work feeling rejuvenated, which is the point of a vacation in the first place. Here are some easy ways to build exercise or movement into your next vacation while also making you feel fabulous.
1. Walk everywhere
You’ve got legs, haven’t you?
- Fab factor: Taking a walking tour of your destination allows you to be outdoors and in the fresh air (depending on the location), and the best part here is you truly get to experience the sights and sounds of your destination and soak up the local culture. If you took a car or bus to sightsee, you might miss out on some details. Experiencing these local flavors will make you feel more like you are someplace exotic, worlds away from the monotony of the daily grind. And hey, your walk might even lead you to a hidden lunch spot or shopping center that you may not have otherwise discovered. Retail therapy anyone?
- Calories burned: Walking at a non-strenuous moderate pace can burn roughly 120-140 calories per hour for a 130-pound person, or 180 to 200 calories for 200-pound person, according to Livestrong estimates. That may not seem like much for one hour, but over the course of several hours in a day– and many days in one trip– it can certainly have an impact, particularly if you make an effort to follow good walking techniques such as keeping your head up, staying relaxed (not stiff) , swinging your arms freely, and keeping your abs tight, as the Mayo Clinic recommends.
2. Yoga/Pilates classes
Attend a beach or lawn yoga class with the sunrise or sunset as your back drop. Most luxury resorts offer an assortment of classes through the week for free, so make use of these perks for a blissfully relaxing morning or afternoon– you’re already paying for it! If you’re Airbnb-ing or staying somewhere where free classes are not available, yoga yourself! Use an app to guide you, and go with the flow!
- Fab factor: Activate your inner goddess and release tension! The asanas and breathing exercises that are part of yoga bring fresh oxygen into your body and to your cells, promote blood circulation and massage out kinks in your body. The American Osteopathic Association reports yoga can stimulate energy and vitality, and can improve mental wellness and positivity through its calming effects. That pain you’ve been experiencing sitting at your desk at the office? That can be alleviated with some deep work at yoga!
- Calories burned: On average, people can burn about 164 calories during a 60-minute Hatha yoga class, 304 calories during a 60-minute Ashtanga yoga class and 515 calories during a 60-minute Vinyasa yoga class, per Livestrong calculations. “In 60 minutes of each, a 180-pound person burns 227, 421 and 713 calories, respectively,” per Livestrong.
3. Trip the light fantastic
Party the night away and experience the nightlife! Make club-hopping work for you by getting your groove on.
- Fab factor: Who doesn’t have fun dancing?! Research has shown that dancing can help relieve stress, reduce depression, and boost self-esteem and confidence. When it comes down to it, dancing just makes you feel good, even more than other forms of activity:
“In a study at the University of London, researchers assigned patients with anxiety disorders to spend time in one of four therapeutic settings: a modern-dance class, an exercise class, a music class, or a math class. Only the dance class significantly reduced anxiety. …
As a general rule, moving to music activates the brain’s pleasure circuits. ‘On a physiological and psychological level, humans like order and form, and the rhythm of dancing to music provides that satisfactory patterning,’ according to Miriam Berger, a dance professor and dance therapist at New York University.”
And if you’re busting moves on a dance floor with other people, that social aspect and connectedness is sure to give you some positive vibes, too.
- Calories burned: Dancing, according to the MyFitnessPal app, burns about 306 calories per hour, but of course, this varies by style, vigor of the dance, and the body type of the person dancing. Typically, in 60 minutes, hip hop will use between 370 (for people of lighter bodyweights) to 610 (for those weighing 180 and up) calories, according to Fitness Blender. But you can crank it up a notch if you’re going to a concert or similar musical venue; moshing consumes loads of energy, as you can burn anywhere from 400-750 calories!
4. Indulge in a free thalassotherapy spa treatment
Why spend hundreds of dollars hitting up a fancy spa when you can do wonders for your skin and immune system just by swimming in the sea? Doctors are already on to something by suggesting seawater for medical purposes.
- Fab Factor: With the correct protective gear (organic, natural sunscreen, floats or lifejacket if you need them), swimming in the ocean can improve your skin’s glow, help boost your circulation, reduce stress levels and even help treat existing skin and respiratory conditions. The high mineral and salt content in the ocean serves as a natural cleanser, exfoliant, and antiseptic. The mere exposure to the seaside air (even a walk on the beach) can also reduce symptoms of many respiratory conditions.
- Calories burned: Swimming in the ocean, or even snorkeling, can burn roughly 340-410 calories per hour, according to Weight Watchers estimates.
5. Take a hike!
Catching rays by the poolside might sound relaxing enough, but it’s doing no wonders for your waistline or wellbeing. Instead, take a hike! Try exploring the great outdoors in whatever part of the world you are venturing. Even if you’re not near elevated ground, a walking trail through wilderness is enough to tone you up!
Fab factor: Studies have shown that being in nature and experiencing natural beauty have lowered cortisol levels and heart rates, indicating lower stress levels, as Business Insider reported last year. Simply experiencing wonderment can have an overall positive boost to one’s mental state.
Calories burned: (See walking) Additional points here if you’re dealing with any sort of incline that’ll give your calves and glutes some toning. In general, you can expect a 160-lb person to burn off up to 440 calories per hour of hiking, or a 200-lb person to burn off an estimated 550 calories per hour of hiking, per Livestrong figures.
Regardless of where you decide to go to decompress, be it on the other side of the world or right in your own hometown, you can still have your dream vacation without it having to be a staycation, so get active and keep moving!
You’ll thank yourself for it when you snap back to reality.
I want to hear from you!
How do you stay active but still stay fresh on vacation? Do these activities sound plain exhausting, or do you agree?
Leave a comment or send me a message!