9 Ways to Stay Fit While on Vacation

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Saturday, 02 January 2016 891 Views 0 Comments
9 Ways to Stay Fit While on Vacation

By Varsha R. Meghani


Runners tend to fear vacations. An extended break, complete with inactivity and overindulgences, can wipe out months of hard training. You might worry about annoying your travel companions if you insist on going for a run. Or perhaps you fear that a jam-packed itinerary will leave you with little or no time for a workout. If any of these concerns plague you as you prepare to go on vacation, here are some solutions:


1.    Be realistic


Acknowledge and accept that you won’t be able to run as per routine while on vacation. “Don’t have unrealistic expectations,” warns champion marathoner and Mumbai-based coach Savio D’Souza. “Your aim should be to maintain your base level of fitness, so that when you come back you don’t struggle to get back into shape,” he advises. Also don’t be hard-nosed about running in the morning itself. It might be the best time to get a run out of the way, especially if everybody else is asleep, but if you can’t do so, be flexible. Maybe you can run in the evening after a day of sightseeing, or if a run isn’t possible, try and include some other kind of physical activity during the day, like walking instead of using a vehicle.


2.    Get in that long run before you leave


Plan your training routine such that you fit in a long run on the day that you leave, or the day before. This will help you get away with no running for the first one or two days of your trip, as you will anyway need to rest your muscles post the long run.


3.    Run solo


Stepping out for a run is a great way to acquaint your self with a new city. There are plenty of apps that help with plotting routes and planning runs, or you can ask your hotel concierge for a safe route to follow. If you prefer, simply venture out and explore the unfamiliar. But keep it short. “I never run more than 7 or 8kms at a stretch when I’m travelling, so that I’m fresh and not exhausted for the day ahead,” explains boot camp instructor and avid marathoner Vidhi Kirpalani.


4.    Look for local running groups before hand


Motivation is key to keeping up your running routine while on vacation. If you have company, you’re more likely to run. So look for running groups at your travel destination and connect with them beforehand. Most welcome visiting runners, plus you’ll have the benefit of getting to know locals who can offer you insights about their city. Also run a Google search for ‘sightrunning’ operators in the city you’re visiting. It’s a trend that combines running with sightseeing, and is a novel way to explore a city, even for a non-running travel companion.


5.    Skip


Carry a skipping rope with you. It’s the easiest form of exercise to squeeze into your day. A simple 20-minute routine, done in your hotel room itself, is a good cardio workout that can be done everyday, whether you run or not.


6.    Walk, Hike, Bike


“Usually when I travel, I walk a lot,” reveals Kirpalani. Walking, instead of using a vehicle, is not only a great way to explore a city, but also gives you the exercise you need. If you’re more adventurous, search for hiking options nearby or if the city you’re visiting is bike-friendly, choose to cycle as you sightsee. Mixing up your exercise routine will not only keep your boredom at bay, but will also enhance your running performance by helping you workout a different set of muscles.


7.    In-room strengthening workout


If you can’t step out for a run, do a core or cardio workout in your hotel room. If you don’t know what sequence of exercises to follow, browse YouTube for quick 15-20 minute workout videos. Narrow down on the workouts that suit you beforehand so that you don’t waste time researching for the right one while there. Specify that the workouts should be equipment free, and save them offline. As a warm up, skip for 5 minutes or run on the spot raising your knees to your chest.


8.    Hit the gym


Again, if you can’t step out for a run, but have access to a gym, hit the treadmill. D’Souza swears by a 45-minute routine that has helped keep his vacationing protégés fit and strong. Set the treadmill to a speed of six units and warm up for 10 minutes at that pace. Increase the speed by half a unit and set the incline to one. Run for three minutes. Increase the speed again by half a unit and incline by another unit. Run again for three minutes. Keep doing this every three minutes until you hit an incline of five or six, or sooner based on your fitness levels. Use the next two to three minutes to reduce the incline and the speed, until you hit the original speed of six units on flat ground. Run for another 10 minutes to cool down. “This is not only a speed workout, but also a simulation of a hill workout. You’ll come back feeling stronger if you do this on alternate days,” promises D’Souza.


9.    Run a local marathon


Many smaller towns, especially in Europe and America, organise marathons and shorter races through the year. Check if any runs coincide with your visit. “Even a 5km or 10km race might be a good idea to sign up for”, says D’Souza. Often held in scenic locations, your travel companions too might enjoy a day in the outdoors, cheering you on.


So the next time you go on vacation, cast aside your fears and keep up your form in any of these ways. You’ll return home rejuvenated and ready to hit the road running.

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