Fitness Tips for Vacation Rentals: Stay in Shape Even When You're Traveling

In the minds of many, gaining weight is a given when traveling, whether it's for business or pleasure. Sadly, for many, it's not all in their heads. Reality finds its way to their waistlines after a week away from regular exercise routines and eating.

Vacation rentals can actually help counter the travel bulge. Since you'll be staying in a home or a condo, it'll be easier to carry your regular routines with you to your vacation destination than if you're staying in a hotel or at a resort. But more on that in a bit.

The first thing to remember when traveling is to plan your meals and workouts ahead of time. In some cases, this will be easy. For example, if you're traveling to Orlando to take in Disneyworld and Universal Studios, you pretty much know how your day's going to go. Get up, get ready and get to the theme parks. You can extend the "get ready" part of your day with a simple 1/2 hour walk or jog around the area you're staying in. You'll still be making vacation memories. You'll likely discover some hidden gem to photograph or share with your travel buddies. Also, all the walking around can count as exercise. You can carve out time at the theme park for brisk walking (they'll likely frown on jogging, but brisk walking is really just as effective as a slow to moderate jog). This advice applies to just about any vacation that involves set activities.

Now, when you're simply flying to a beachy island to do nothing but relax, building in workout time can be tougher. After all, sleeping in becomes a definite option and, well, that cabana or isolated beach chair looks so inviting. Not to mention the mai tais. The last thing you want is a plan. In those cases, simply be flexible. If you normally work out in the morning, either try to stick to your routine, or experiment with working out in the afternoon, just before you head back to the beach to watch the sunset. Then you can enjoy an extra cocktail or h'orderves without feeling guilty. Or, build walking time into your lazy day. Walk to a local market or store for groceries or souvenirs. Try to keep your pace brisk, but take time to stop and chat with the locals. You'll not only get exercise, you'll find yourself making memories you'll never forget.

Those are ways to get exercise without even really trying. You can be more dedicated to a regimen without sacrificing too much time. Here are some basic workout routines you can follow that use body weight alone, no weights or other equipment.

Easy, fast. 20 jumping jacks, 20 lunges, 20 pushups, repeat 3 - 5 times. It will take you literally take you about 15 minutes to do this workout. Will you shed a pound a day? No. But, if you watch what you eat and drink, you won't gain weight on vacation either. A tip on pushups: Do not be afraid to go to your knees, whether you're a man or a woman. It's better to get the reps in with good form than to try to be a hero and grunt out only two or three traditional pushups. That will do you almost no good.

A little more involved. Run a half mile, 10 pushups, 20 squats, 30 sit ups, repeat 6 times. This one will take a bit longer, maybe an hour depending on how fast you run. If needed, scale the running portion to brisk walking and cut it to a quarter-mile. Or, cut the reps to three.

For fitness gurus or those with regular routines: If you have a smartphone, download a bootcamp workout app and follow the daily regimen. Or, pack your workout DVDs and take them with you. Play them back on either your laptop or the DVD player in your vacation rental. If you normally use weights, try switching to bands. They're inexpensive, easy to pack and give you a great workout. If you need a pull up bar, look for the nearest park, then grab the top bar of a swing set, a pull up bar in a play area, or a sturdy tree branch.

Going on vacation is supposed to disrupt your routine. That can be a great thing for your workout regimen, but maybe you're onto something that works for you. If you need a treadmill, then look for a vacation rental with a treadmill. There are plenty to be had. Or, some vacation rentals are in resort areas with common workout rooms. You can also look for the nearest health club and buy a week's membership -- they're usually not that expensive, and well worth the investment in your health.

The key to staying fit on vacation is to be just a little flexible and keep an open mind. Stay up as late as you want with friends and family--just remember that when you get up at 11 AM, do a 1/2 hours’ worth of calisthenics. You can enjoy all the beach time you want--simply carve out time for a nice long walk along the shore. And you can be with your kids at their favorite theme park all day--just include a brisk walk. You'll be glad you did when you step on the scale back home and see that you've lost a pound or two.

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