There is no vacation from exercise

Being out of town isn’t an excuse to skip your workout.

When you’re not on your normal schedule and the gym is 100 kms away, it’s easy to take a vacation from exercise. Because the progress you were making in your workouts may begin to diminish and because it’s harder to make exercise a habit again after you take a break, you better find a way to work out each day—even when you’re out of town!

When your family takes a vacation from work and stress this summer, it doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from exercise. Here are a few tips to stay committed to a workout routine no matter where your travels take you.

Leave your home prepared to exercise. This means packing the right gear. While you can’t pack your treadmill or weights, you can take along your athletic shoes, workout clothes, swimsuit, resistance bands, a jump rope and favourite workout DVD.

Before making hotel reservations, check to see what’s offered in the way of fitness. At least 80% of hotels now offer fitness facilities for their guests. Typically, this consists of a small fitness center equipped with a few cardio exercise machines and free weights. It may not be what you use with your trainer, but it’s enough. Take advantage of this room if there’s space available or swim laps in the hotel pool.

When you’re on vacation or on a business trip, the last thing you may feel like doing is putting on your workout clothes, waiting for a machine to open up, and exercising in a small space with a bunch of strangers.

If this sounds like you, check out what a few hotels are now offering: ‘Health-fitness rooms,’ bedrooms large enough to include exercise equipment. You can choose a room with either an elliptical, exercise bike, or treadmill.

Along with your very own private cardio machine, some hotels supply extra workout clothes, towels, water, an exercise mat, free weights, resistance bands and even a workout DVD to check out for free. With this kind of room, there’s no excuse not to exercise.

We are serious about these rooms, don’t be afraid to ask. Many of the major chains in the United States and in big Canadian cities have them. The worst they can say is no and tell you about their regular hotel gym.

Some of the most effective exercises use nothing but your own bodyweight for resistance. This kind of workout can be done anywhere, anytime, in the hotel room, at the condo, or on a cruise ship. Examples include push-ups, sit-ups, planks, jumping jacks, lunges, squats, burpees, and triceps dips. Do three sets of 10 reps each for a good workout.

Depending on the weather and the community you’re staying in, there may be a variety of outdoor activities to do for exercise. Ask your hotel about nearby parks, walking trails, hiking adventures, or walking tours and you’ll get a workout while seeing new places of interest.

Many vacation destinations offer bicycle or in-line skate rentals. These are great ways to spend quality family time, get exercise and take in the sights.

If your destination includes a pool, beach, or lake, take advantage of the water and go swimming, surfing, stand up paddle boarding, bodysurfing, kayaking, or canoeing. They’re all great fun and are also great ways to squeeze in a work out.

It’ll take longer than a week’s vacation to fall out of shape, but the longer you go without exercise, the more fitness gains you begin to lose. More seasoned athletes take longer to lose their fitness gains than people new to exercise. One study showed that athletes who trained for a year and then quit lost half their conditioning after three months, while those who worked out for just two months and then quit lost all their conditioning in just two months.

Jack Wheeler is personal trainer and owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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