I recently arrived home after a whirlwind trip back home for a friend’s wedding. It was a glorious 10-day trip to my hometown but, like most trips home, it involved catch-up dinners, catch-up drinks and, as I was helping my friend prepare for her wedding, it also involved bachelorette parties, pre-wedding decorating events and the big day itself.
It was not just my daughter and I on a trip that week. Something else took a flight as well: our regular routine flew right out the window and it took along with it our usually good eating habits as well. Now, 10 days is not a long time so it’s hard to do much damage but as we boarded the plane to head back home, I felt like my luggage wasn’t the only thing that was a bit heavier.
As my husband and I pack up for our family’s camping vacation, I’m already wondering how we can incorporate a bit of exercise into our vacation with a two year old without taking away from the fun and relaxing nature of our trip. Few people want to thinking about working out while on vacation but I have a few reasons why we shouldn’t be so quick to put exercising at the bottom of our priority list.
First, running, hiking, cycling and walking can all provide amazing opportunities for discovering your vacation destination! Some of my best memories of traveling have been while on runs early in the morning. Running (or any of the other aforementioned activities) can take you to places you would have never otherwise seen and city running can show you beautiful sites around town at times when other tourists haven’t even left their hotel (think of how less crowded the Eiffel Tower is early in the morning). Traveling with kids doesn’t always allow you to skip out for a stroll or a jog alone- unless you have a partner who’s willing to trade days with you – but it is possible to merge family time and fitness together. On a camping trip through New Hampshire and Maine last year, my husband and I ran together on some days but also took turns with our daughter so the other could enjoy solo runs. When we weren’t playing lakeside, we were discovering all the trails that the parks and local surroundings had to offer.
Second, don’t discount the great benefits that can naturally come along with a vacation. Simply playing with your kids either at the beach or walking around a new town are great moments of physical activity. You don’t have to drag yourself off to the hotel gym just to keep active; splashing around at the hotel pool can also work up a great appetite for the delicious meals that usually accompany vacations. If you follow some of the walking tours that are often recommended in guides like Lonely Planet, you’ll find that your whole day has naturally become one big workout.
Third, there are so many great online resources for working out these that you hardly have to leave your hotel room to discover a new, awesome class. My favourite site that I’ve been following for a year now is www.yogadownload.com. This site has every type of yoga imaginable plus it has cardio and toning classes as well. Videos range from as short as 10 minutes for abs to a full 120 minutes of yoga. You can even download their free 20 minute audio podcasts for a quick yoga blast before you head out the hotel door. If you happen to be close to a gym or yoga studio, check out their specials. Sometimes studios offer sweet deals for travellers, like 3 day passes at a discounted price.
Spent a lot of money to go on vacation and you’re not at all interested in losing one minute to working out? Well, good for you! There’s something smart about not getting too wrapped up in it all that you can’t allow yourself to fully enjoy a few days of relaxation. Everything in moderation, right?
For my family, I know that we’ll be sacrificing a few items in the car in order to fit in our running stroller but running together is a family activity that we all enjoy so it’s worth it for us. We’ll also be packing our Ergo carrier so we can take advantage of hiking trails and tourists sites that don’t accomodate strollers (who wants to miss out on an exciting just because of a few stairs?).
Happy travels to you if you’re able to get away this summer!