Exercise While Traveling – Great Options
There are so many exercise options available while traveling with your family. For starters, it is hard to find a hotel or a resort today without a gym with at least some basic cardio and weight training equipment, so go for it, if this is what works best for you. However, I strongly encourage you to think beyond just the hotel gym, the treadmill or hand weights. As soon as you do that, you discover many easy and often more fun possibilities for exercise that won’t make it feel like a chore. Personally, I believe that vacation is a great time to try something new. Everything is in a more relaxed mode, no one knows you (less chance of feeling subconscious) and there are no commitments. Here are my suggestions:
Plan an active family vacation
To begin with, some vacations simply are exercise for the most part, so no need to seek additional options for workouts.
- Skiing or hiking vacations (such as visiting State and National Parks) are great examples of family vacations where everybody is bound to get plenty of exercise, no matter what level skier or how adventurous of a hiker you are.
- Laugh if you want, but I also consider family trips to amusement parks to be among the most active family vacations (those who have been there and done that, especially for several days in a row, know very well what I mean).
- Similarly, many family vacations to city destinations usually involve a lot of walking. During our family’s recent visit to New York City we walked around the city so much I never felt the need to lace up my running shoes!
Take advantage of numerous options offered by your hotel/resort
1. Enjoy fitness-oriented amenities
Pools, tennis courts or golf courses are a few of the obvious and popular options. Just make sure you do a bit of research and planning prior to your stay if you are counting on these as your main form of exercise. For example, if you are planning to swim for exercise, you may want to check on the size of the pool as well as plan on the hours where there is little traffic from other guests (such as the early morning). For tennis and golf, make sure you sign up for courts and tee times as early as possible, ideally even before your arrival, to avoid frustrations with filled schedules. For those who prefer to run or hike, there are usually ample and obvious options around the property. (I love running on the beach!) Many hotels and resorts also provide trail maps for their guests, just ask!
2. Try some of the activities designed for guests
This is one I personally like to take advantage of. In addition to the above-mentioned gym, many hotels and particularly resorts offer a number of diverse fitness programs for their guests. Morning yoga by the ocean, pool aerobics or boot camp on the beach? Sign me up!
3. Take advantage of other fitness-oriented options your hotel/resort offers
Many places we have visited in the past as a family offered various equipment that guests can borrow — from bikes and kayaks to snow shoes. Most of the time they were even free of charge. During our recent trip to Costa Rica, our family thoroughly enjoyed a kayaking tour to a beautiful near-by beach organized by the staff at the resort where we stayed. It not only gave us a great upper body workout, but it was also a fun family experience that still gives us fond memories.
Consider portable routines and gear
I must admit this particular option is not for me. However, a few of my friends feel most comfortable exercising in their hotel room, either following a DVD, using some other kind of fitness routine (often found in major fitness magazines or by searching the Internet) or by bringing their own equipment such as bands or ankle weights. You should know that many hotels today provide both fitness oriented DVDs or portable equipment, so call ahead and ask the front desk or the concierge if this is something you are considering.
Use your own health club
If you happen to belong to a national fitness chain, then you probably know that there are many locations all over the country (this option mostly applies to domestic travel). Usually, your membership fees cover visits to other clubs in your network or there is only a nominal fee. Life Time Fitness is one such example and the best part is that they also provide childcare for their members. The obvious downside of this option is that the club location might not be convenient to where you are staying.
Embrace local fitness-oriented activities
This is by far my personal favorite! Remember the part about taking a break from the usual routines, but also discovering new experiences as a family? Many of these experiences can be fitness oriented, and I give you bonus points if they have a local cultural flair! In Hawaii, for example, our family had a ton of fun learning paddle boarding and body surfing. Shelling on Marco Island had us walking together on the beach for hours. In Costa Rica, our rainforest canopy tour required quite a bit of hiking (and crossing all those hanging bridges was a great way to practice balance and stability). When friends visit our hometown of Chicago, I usually recommend they rent bikes at Navy Pier as a wonderful way to experience the Chicago lakefront or adjacent neighborhoods. The best part of these examples is that they don’t feel like exercise! They are fun and usually highly memorable family experiences.
Utilize the Internet
Finally, there are many great websites that can help you find local fitness facilities and many list not only domestic, but also international options. For example, if you are looking for local gyms, check out healthclubs.com. For avid runners, trails.com offers ample suggestions for local running paths and loads of other info such as local races if this is something you are interested in. For yoga devotees yogafinder.com can help you find information on local studios and classes in over 100 countries!
Aside from these activity-specific sites, you can also simply search for particular options based on your destination or consult Yelp. Whatever your choice or style, family travels, even extensive ones, do not mean that you have to leave your workouts at home. On the contrary, altering your routine and mixing things up might help you discover a new activity that you will love! Wishing you happy travels and fun workouts!
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A native of Slovenia, Vera moved to the U.S. 20+ years ago after meeting her American husband. Together with their two children they live on the North…