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Planning a Vacation? Don’t Ditch Your Healthy Habits!

My husband said he wanted us to ride bikes. Our beach house came with them. I told him, “I can’t ride a bike! I’m too old and fat!” But I got on that bike and by gosh I rode all over that town.

This was my aunt telling me about her first time riding a bike in many years, while she was on family vacation in Hilton Head. More so than being “old and fat,” my aunt, in her late 50s, is held back by pulmonary dysfunction that often has her catching her breath just walking from one end of her house to another. So riding a bike was a big deal, and she was thrilled she was able to do it.

While my aunt didn’t plan on being active during her vacation because of her health issues, she gave it a go and rediscovered a type of joy she hadn’t experienced in years. It’s a good example of the importance of staying active, not only to maintain physical health but also to boost emotional well-being.

Rolling down a sunny oceanside street on a beach cruiser is one of many ways to add a health kick to your vacation. If you’re planning to travel this summer, is activity on your to-do list?  Of course family vacation is meant as a time to relax and get away from the rigors of everyday life and work, but you don’t have to ditch your regular healthy habits.

Staying active during vacation is easy—especially when you have young children. In fact, it probably takes more effort to be still! So while you might feel compelled to fit in your regular workout, odds are you’ll get plenty of exercise without much extra effort. Incorporating exercise into your vacation can actually be part of the fun. Vacation destinations, whether you go the touristy or leisurely route, are always ripe with options for staying active.

Here’s a helpful guide to keep in mind as you plan your summer getaway!

Pro Planning                                                          

  • Rental amenities. Check if your rental provides outdoor toys, athletic equipment, or bicycles. Pack the items not provided, even bikes if it’s feasible.
  • Local activities. Find out what types of activities your vacation destination offers. Insight from locals is particularly helpful. If you’re a stickler for a schedule, pencil in your activities. If you’re like me and prefer to see how each day plays out, at least you’ll have an idea of your options.


Pro Playing

  • Sand. Beach walks are my favorite, after dinner when there’s still plenty of light but fewer people around. It’s easy to stay moving when there are splash-worthy tide pools of different depths and sizes up and down the shore.
  • Seashells. Set up an obstacle course, using shells and lines in the sand as markers. Set a timer on your phone for each course and race away!
  • Dinner bells. For young children, something as simple as a walk through an unfamiliar town is full of wonder. So choose dinner (or breakfast, dessert, etc.) at a walkable location and get the added benefit of fun conversation along the way.
  • Happy trails.  There’s likely to be a nature preserve, a national park, or some sort of walking tour wherever you choose to vacation. While it’s tempting to focus on one area—ocean, lake, river, etc.—you can find unexpected fun when you explore outside those boundaries. Plus it keeps you moving!

What are some ways you stay active on vacation? Share your tips in the comments below.

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