Fit to Relax: Finding Balance on Vacation

Vacation season is upon us at last. If you have a summer trip planned, chances are you’ve been looking forward to it for months and are ready to unwind with your family and loved ones.

Fitness and nutrition may be far from your mind when you think about what a vacation should entail. After all, vacation is a time to relax and vacate your day-to-day responsibilities. However, unlike a job that you can leave at 5 o’clock every day, your body and its health are going with you on vacation. Taking care of your body, while also enjoying total relaxation and delicious food splurges, will create a balanced experience and one that will help you come home feeling great.

When it comes to fitness and nutrition, the key thing to remember is that you are the boss; you are the one who decides how you want your vacation to be, whether that is a total relaxation of all your fitness and health goals, pressing full steam ahead or a balance between the two. Whatever you decide, the reality is that our bodies function better in the right conditions. A well-balanced approach to vacation allows your body to feel better and thoroughly enjoy some relaxation. Read on for some tips on how to find this balance on your vacation so that your body feels its best, but remember: you’re the boss, and this is your vacation! So take what advice suits you and let the rest go. It’s vacation, after all.

Five Simple Ways to Make It a Feel-Good Vacation

  1. Increase your water intake. Fruit water can be a refreshing alternative to plain water and may encourage greater intake amounts. Try strawberry basil, lemon, blueberry mint, and other fun combinations.
  1. Save your splurges for restaurant meals. Choose whole foods when snacking or preparing your own meals, rather than processed foods which are likely to be high in fat, sugar and calories. You’ll feel more balanced and energetic (and free to splurge on your favorite restaurant meals, sans guilt) when the majority of your food choices have been nutritionally rich. Remember, whole foods are found on the outer aisles of the grocery store, not the center aisles. Think vegetables, fruit, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. Check out the list below of snack and whole food ideas that are both healthy and convenient.
  1. Scout out restaurants that offer fresh faire, especially for your daytime meals. Many vacation destinations have great juice and smoothie bars, wrap and salad restaurants, etc. Make the choice to visit those destinations for daytime sustenance and feel better all day, saving your splurges for evening meals when you’re more likely to visit sit-down restaurants.
  1. Prepare for the travel days. Bring items that can be packed in a cooler if you’re driving, or that are non-perishable if flying. Having the full spectrum of healthy choices available from the grocery store before you hit the road ensures that you have a choice in what to eat on those long travel days.
  1. Find thirty minutes a day to be active. On some vacations, physical activity may be built in, such as hiking, swimming, or walking through a theme park. On vacations where physical activity is not included, consider using one of the fitness apps featured here to get your thirty minutes of activity accomplished. Some fitness gyms and studios may even have branches at your vacation destination. For example, most YMCAs allow members of other branches to use their facilities free with a guest pass. Lastly, vacation can be a great time to try something new! Try a fun class you see advertised in the area. You may just come home with a new fitness favorite.

Apps for Staying Fit on the Go

Tone It Up: Tone it Up is a free app featuring a wide variety of workouts designed for women. Tone It Up does offer some subscription-based options, but also provides an arsenal of videos you can stream for free, from twelve-minute HIIT workouts to rejuvenating yoga classes, thigh busters, and abdominal intensives, many of which require minimal or no equipment.

Water Logged: Water Logged is a free app that helps you track how much water you’re drinking each day. Just tap the app to log each glass! The app can be set to remind you to drink more water throughout the day.

Grokker: Grokker is an app that requires a subscription fee (after a free two-week trial), and offers a variety of classes taught by expert instructors that can be streamed anytime. Workouts are featured in series ranging from 7-minute HIIT workouts to “Perfect Pilates” to the “21-Day Yoga Body Slim Down” and beyond. The app also features healthy cooking video tutorials. Sure, you pay for this app, but for busy people who love the idea of expert classes that are available on a personally convenient timeline, this may be a solution that lasts long after vacation.

Healthy Convenience Foods

Does the idea of choosing whole foods for vacation meals and snacks sound great, except for the aspect that they have to be prepared? There are some great options for whole foods and snacks that are both convenient and healthy, requiring little work. Remember, moms and other caretakers need a vacation too! Here is a short list to get started with some good examples. Make it easy for yourself and your family to eat healthful snacks on vacation.

-Chopped salad kits

-Hummus and vegetable trays

-Non-fat yogurts and pre-cut fruit

-Raw, unsalted almonds (it’s better to roast and season them at home where you have control over the quality and quantity of oil and seasonings you use)

-Sweet potato and other baked vegetable chips

-Fresh, store-bought salsa with organic chips and/or vegetables