How to Make Vacation Healthy

When many of us take a vacation, more than anything, we seek to relax. We spend long, lazy days on a beach chair or in a hammock and socialize the night away with rum drinks, fancy martinis, and indulgent desserts. Too often, we return home heavier and flabbier than we’ve been since, well, our last vacation.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Active vacations are often the most relaxing of all. Wait! It’s all in defining what an active vacation is. We don’t expect you to take up jogging, backpacking, or hang gliding. Rather, we ask the sedentary vacationers among you to spend two to four hours a day doing things. Walking the city streets. Exploring a nature preserve. Going to a zoo. Biking along the ocean. Taking a leisurely rowboat ride.

These kinds of activities aren’t just good for your physical health. They improve your mental health, even your spiritual health. And they make vacations memorable and worthwhile. And after all, isn’t that what you want from your vacation? Here are some fresh ideas to make your vacations as pleasurable as they are active and healthy.

1. Make morning time your activity time. Most likely the weather will be friendlier, your energy level higher, and your agenda emptier than later in the day.

2. Reacquaint yourself with sunrises and sunsets. A walk at dawn or dusk is rejuvenation
defined. Try to make this a daily ritual of life away from home, and you will guarantee yourself both physical and spiritual replenishment.

3. Get into the water as much as you can. Don’t allow yourself to spend all your time sitting in front of the water. Whether it is the ocean, a swimming pool, or a tree-lined lake, make sure you get into the water for swimming or games or even walking. Heck, merely standing in waist-high water is a good workout, thanks to the action of the water. And you’ll feel so much more alive!

4. Get on the water as much as you can. Paddleboats are a blast. Canoeing is a joy. Rowboats are romantic. Powerboats exhilarating. Sailboats serene. Kayaks pure adventure. Inner tubes can erase 50 years from your attitude in a matter of minutes. Even standing at the rail of a steamboat is exciting. Boats make you feel young, and whether you are propelling them or not, they all burn calories and engage your muscles more than being on dry land.

5. Choose a cruise for your trip. It’s amazing how active you can be being stuck on a boat in the middle of the Atlantic. Most cruise ships offer numerous options for seaworthy exercise. Most ships house pools, golf simulators, rock walls, basketball hoops, fitness centers, jogging and walking areas, and instructor-led fitness classes — and that’s just what’s on board. During your sea and land excursions you can burn calories as you snorkel, swim, hike, scuba dive, and horseback ride.

6. Get out of the car every two hours. Many of us spend a large chunk of our vacations on the road, either getting to and from our destinations, or using the car for sightseeing. But no matter how beautiful the scenery is, great, memorable vacations don’t happen in a car seat. Don’t wait for exhaustion or nature’s call to get you to pull over. Frequently get out and stretch, walk, picnic, shop, visit, and have fun. It’s important for your health and energy, and it makes traveling a lot more active and interesting.

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