Health / Expert Advice

Here’s Exactly How to Work Out on Your Vacation

Whether you're beach bound or heading to camp grounds.

Vacation is one of the rare times when you completely exit out of all those mental tabs filling up your mind. No email, no structure, nowhere to be, no problem. But after a week of devouring every last meal (and cocktail), waking up at odd hours, or adjusting to a different time zone and culture, exhaustion and fatigue start to set in. Nothing can get you feeling a bit back on track (while you’re still off the radar, of course) like a quick workout, though. If you want to stay focused on your goals or reap energy to sightsee and Jet Ski, remaining somewhat active while you’re away from your home base is recommended. That said, unless you feel a super-surge of motivation, give yourself permission to take it easier and work out for shorter periods. After all, you are OOO. Here, experts recommend vacation-friendly sweat seshes.

Beach Vacation: Running or Sand Workouts

For runners, nothing quite beats waking up to catch the sunrise with only the sound of their feet hitting the sand. Physical therapist Lauren Lobert, D.P.T., O.M.P.T., C.S.C.S., says this easy, calm wake-up call is great for your body, too. “Taking a walk or jog in the sand can be great for activating muscles in your feet, as well as your gluteal muscles,” she explains.

If you want to add some cross-training, certified personal trainer Steph Wilberding suggests taking a break from your beach read to do some squats, planks, push-ups, and burpees in the sand to really set your core on fire. “It takes a lot of stability to work out on an unstable surface like sand. Give it a go. When you get too hot, dive right into the ocean,” she suggests.

You can always take your favorite Aaptiv trainer along with you, too. Just about every outdoor run in-app can be done on the beach while the waves crash at your feet. Can you think of anything better? We can’t either.

European Sightseeing: Walk or Rent Bikes

Gelato in Rome, macarons and baguettes in Paris, and beer that’s cheaper than water in Prague. So much of traveling is, well, eating and drinking. When you cross the pond to venture through the historic streets of Europe, it’s especially important to taste the flavors of the culture. But lots of heavy carbs and sugar will have you crashing in a major way, so keep moving, says exercise physiologist and author Jerry Snider. “We all tend to eat too much when we travel to new places. Walking after a meal is a great way to help your metabolism along,” he says.

Skip the public transportation. Walk or rent a bike to see all the museums, churches, and markets. It’s a more local way to experience your destination, and it keeps your heart rate up.

Cabin Getaway: Hiking

So, you’re heading to the woods. In addition to whipping up a family-style meal and playing games by lantern light, schedule in some time to explore the scenery, Wilberding suggests. “Hiking is a great form of steady-state cardio. Steady-state cardio is simply a cardio workout that is a continuous, steady effort. Find a trail, and give it a go. Some hills? Even better. You can activate those glutes on the uphill climb and quads on the way down,” she explains.

Lake House: Kayaking or Swimming

The lake lifestyle isn’t just for retirees and fishermen. For city-dwellers who haven’t seen the great outdoors in months, the allure of a serene body of water where you can float or ride in the sun sounds perfect. Snider says to take advantage of your lake vacation by doing more than just swimming—rent all the goodies, too. From kayaks and canoes to paddleboards, these challenge your muscles and endurance. “Getting out on the water in something other than a motorized boat will give you a workout—not only an arm workout, but also it forces you to balance. This will give your core quite a workout depending on how long you stay out,” he says.

Spa Destination: Yoga Classes or Morning Walks

Sure, you’re there to relax and get all those knots rubbed or scrubbed away. But Snider says even light exercise will help to fully detox your body. Before you head to breakfast or your first appointment of the day, he suggests taking a stroll around the property. This wakes up your lungs and revs your metabolism before it is time to zen out. If you’d like a bit of a stretch, another option is to try slow-flow yoga. Head to the Aaptiv app and pick from a wide variety of yoga flows that you can do anywhere. Om and ah to reap rewards.

If you decide to fit some fitness into your vacation, that’s great. No matter where you’re headed there’s an Aaptiv workout you can definitely do on your trip. So, pack your phone, your headphones, and your motivation for an easy way to work out on vacation.

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