Living Well – Have fun and stay fit on vacation

Wayne Little's monthly column on exercise and motivation.

I remember having a conversation with a co-worker who was talking about her vacation plans. She was looking for a resort in Mexico that had a gym, so she could work out in the mornings. Another co-worker cut in and said, “why in the heck would you exercise while on vacation?” We tried to no avail to explain to him that a daily routine of exercise is just part of some people’s day. No different than you have to sit on the toilet to do you business each day, it just has to happen. He couldn’t make no sense of it.

I love going on vacation and getting some fun workouts. Finding new challenges and goals are exciting to me. Discovering new areas while going for a run with no real direction in mind is great.  You see some things that you simply wouldn’t while driving in a vehicle. There are obviously a lot of other people who feel the same way. I recently came back from vacation in Maui. At 7 am in the morning there were so many Canadians and Americans out running, you would swear there was a running event going on! Everyone wants to enjoy the cool air in the morning before the sun starts heating up the island. People wanting to burn off that extra dessert from the night before, or maybe they are training for an event like I was. I travelled literally the whole island by bicycle, up Haleakala mountain, on the Road to Hana, around both the West and the East side. I saw some amazing things and met some great people as well. All the while I was getting very fit, and having fun. Each and every night I could eat as much as I wanted, as I was going to burn it off again the next day.

So you’re planning a vacation, what are some ways you can either start a new fitness plan, or continue getting exercise? Many resort areas either rent bicycles or have bicycles for use. Hiking trails and walking tours can provide an opportunity to experience interesting sights up close. Pretty much everywhere you go on vacation will have a pool or ocean for you to swim in. Instead of lounging on the beach, why not take a long barefoot run or walk in the sand, this is incredibly challenging and also rewarding seeing the “sights” laying in the sand soaking up the sun. If you are in a hotel, instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs. Play some beach volleyball. Rent a kayak or canoe and go for a paddle for a few hours.  Golfing (without a cart) can be a great workout. Or you can do one thing my wife hates – sign up for an event to your destination. Nothing better than a Half-Marathon or triathlon to keep you fit. One thing my family loves to do is go for a long walk after dinner.

I’m not going to even start with nutrition on vacation, as who can avoid all the great foods that will be enticing you. Just remember moderation, and have fun. If you plan on getting even half to one hour a day of exercise while on vacation, you won’t feel guilty at the buffet table, and you’ll look better in your bathing suit as well!

Wayne Little

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