Don’t take a vacation from your fitness

This is the time of the year when
many of us take time off work – and away from the heat – to head off on our
summer holidays.

If you are planning on taking some
time away from Cayman in the next few months, you’ve most likely booked your
tickets, made hotel reservations and maybe even started packing, but have you
thought about what will happen to your fitness routine?

It’s easy to let vacation plans
interrupt your regular exercise programme, but why let a well-deserved vacation
or exciting business trip destroy all the amazing fitness gains and eating
habits you’ve developed?

Each time I prepare for a vacation,
I wonder “will I really find time to exercise?” Isn’t the point to take a break
from real life?

Getting away from reality is good
for the soul, and getting away from the usual workout routine is good for the
body. However, a vacation can be the perfect time to exercise or try something
different. By freeing yourself from your routine, you open your mind to new
ways to move your body, have fun and keep your body fit while you’re on

Chances are, the place you are
staying at has a variety of health and fitness facilities available to you. By
calling ahead or checking online, you may discover that there are some
exciting, new fitness options to explore.

Leisurely bike rides are a great
way to see the area while getting in some low-intensity exercise. Take your
time and go all day, and pack a healthy picnic lunch.

Hiking is a fun way to exercise.
Anytime you add elevation to your walks, you’ll burn more calories. If you
carry a backpack, you’ll challenge yourself even more, all while enjoying a
little nature. 

Golf can be a great workout if you
don’t ride around in a cart and drink beer at every hole. If you want to burn
more calories, carry your clubs and walk the course. You’ll burn around 200-300
calories per hour.

If you can fit in a game of tennis
you could burn up to 400 calories an hour (for a 150-pound person) if you play
at a decent intensity.

When on holiday, shopping tends to
be one of the top things on my list. Maybe shopping isn’t the highest intensity
activity, but it can be very aerobic under the right circumstances. If shopping
is your activity of choice, make it count by walking fast, taking the stairs
and avoiding fatty foods at the food court.

If you are staying in a resort with
a gym but don’t want to spend your entire morning working out, shorten your
cardio routine to whatever time you have, even if it’s only five or ten
minutes. Choose activities that are easy to do at a moment’s notice: walking,
running, jumping rope or cycling. Get the most out of the time you have by working
at a high intensity.

Another suggestion is making
exercise on holiday a family affair. Go for a hike, a swim in the pool or play
a game of Frisbee on the beach as a family.

A few other tips include: control
your drinking (stay away from high-calorie cocktails such as margaritas); don’t
skip meals in an effort to ‘save up’ calories, you’ll just feel hungry and most
likely eat more calories at dinner; pack some equipment such as rubber exercise
tubing or a jump rope. If the hotel has a fitness facility, put it to good use,
or even better, make an appointment with a personal trainer or book a Pilates

You can also use your own body
weight to fit in exercise – no equipment required! Body weight exercises are a
great way to develop body awareness, muscle endurance and functional strength.
If your hotel does not offer an exercise facility, you can do push-ups, squats,
lunges, pull-ups and tricep dips in your room.

There are many fun and interesting
ways to incorporate exercise into your holiday, so go ahead and have fun and
enjoy your vacation from reality without losing your fitness gains!

Deanna Smith is an exercise physiologist and Pilate’s instructor at
ENERGY. She can be reached at [email protected] or 946-6006.