In the third and final installment of my Holiday Road Series, I’m addressing all the fun ways you can stay active on vacation without really exercising. In the first article I wrote about all the yummy foods I enjoyed while in Spain. Because I was eating a lot of ham, cheese, and chocolate and not “working out,” it was important to do a few little things here and there to feel energized and burn some of those delicious calories away! While structured workouts are a personal favorite of mine, I can honesty say that when I go on vacation, the last thing I think about is how many days it’s been since I last did Pilates. Here’s what I do instead:
- Stand up! I stand up during layovers at the airport. Who wants to voluntarily sit down only to find yourself forced to sit down for several hours (8 to be exact) to come? My layovers on this last trip weren’t long so I didn’t really have much time to walk around but on other trips I will walk through the airport if I have enough time. I figure walking around aimlessly is better than being stuck at a gate listening to random announcements about passengers needing to head back to security for lost items. I also stand up when riding the Metro. I always hold on with the crook of my elbow which would explain why my triceps were sore – too much flexing!
- Stairs! Whenever possible, I take the stairs. In Barcelona and Madrid I was on the Metro several times each day. Sometimes the transfers involved going several floors up or down and I almost always took the stairs. Taking the stairs is good for your heart, lungs, and legs! Here my dad and I are climbing the stairs to Park Guell in Barcelona. There were so many stairs to get to the top of this hill that they had an outdoor escalator installed! I will admit this was one of the times I did indeed take the escalator.
- Stretch break! If you can, stretch every day. Oh wait, you can do that. Stretching doesn’t take much time and you don’t need any fancy equipment so make a point to stretch each day. This is especially helpful if you’re lugging around heavy bags or sitting on long plane or bus rides. In Croatia we did a lot of hiking through Plitvice National Park and so a few yoga poses were necessary at the end of a long day.
One thing I’ve noticed when I travel is how many fun opportunities there are to exercise in the great outdoors. In Barcelona we headed down to the Mediterranean and found people playing sand volleyball and rollerblading along the boardwalk. We also found a few outdoor gyms! What I love about these is that your own weight is the resistance.
We also stumbled upon a woman working out on a cold, rainy day in a park in Pamplona. So many of the parks have these workout machines and it’s great because no one would ever need a membership to use them!
In Croatia we went to a small island called Lokrum very near to Dubrovnik. This island isn’t inhabited but you can visit the lovely flora and fauna. I was pleasantly surprised to find a little fitness center in the middle of the island! Do note that I was only on the elliptical to test it out! An elliptical workout is usually so low on my list of priorities when I’m at home (due to boredom, not health benefits) that I’d probably never choose to spend time doing this while away! So there you have it, three ways I sneak exercise into my daily routines when I’m traveling. None of these activities really take much time or dedication but at the end of the day they make a difference! Do you workout while away? What’s your ideal vacation? A relaxing or adventurous getaway?