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How to Fit in Exercise While on Vacation

Balancing Vacation and Your Exercise Routine

By: Megan Piersol, DPT

Vacations can be a very stressful time, but also a very relaxing time. Often the stress comes from actually taking time off work, feeling somewhat guilty for doing so, and also the stress of trying to fit in your exercise. Why can’t vacation also equal exercise? Let’s face it, you actually might have more time to fit in an exercise routine on vacation than you do when you go back to your rigid personal and work routine. There are numerous ways to knock out fun and exercise at the same time while on vacation. It also might help provide insight on how you can fit execute into your daily routine afterward.


Here are some tips to help you discover how to fit in exercise while you are on vacation and hopefully continue when you return back from vacation.


  1. Find a hotel that is near places you want to visit. This way you can walk to destinations whether it be dining, a museum, and local town, a theater or show, etc. By being close to most of the desired travel points, you can walk (or pay a small fee to city bike) to your destinations. Before you know it, you have logged in well over the 30-minute daily exercise requirement. You will probably surpass that and be amazed that you were having too much fun to even realize that you walked “x” amount. It’s a mindset. Try to carry it over to when you get home. I imagine you actually might be able to walk to more places near your home than you thought. You can do it on vacation, why not at home.

  2. Take the stairs at your hotel or if the place your visiting has such.

  3. If you have to drive, don’t park so close to your destination and enjoy a walk to your “reward.”

  4. Walk around at the airport if you have a delay, layover, or arrive earlier than your flight instead of sitting.

  5. Choose vacation spots and sights that require some walking: whether this is a museum, hiking trail, art walk, biking/walking tour, etc. I remember when I visited Austria, I paid for a friend and me to do a biking tour through the Wachau valley. It was a 10-mile bike ride that was broken up in to looking at war ruins, tasting some Austrian wine and schnapps, and visiting historical buildings and waterways. It was wonderful despite the torrential downpour of rain they were having. Lighthouses, a favorite of one of my uncles, are a good way to get in a cardio routine. Please make sure you are safe to do stairs beforehand.

  6. Look for hikes or nature trails around the area to do before you go out.

  7. Choose a fun outdoor activity like miniature golf, botanical garden, theme parks, an outlet mall, etc. Indoor activities like bowling can also give you some exercise as well.

  8. Hotels usually have a gym or pool (a bonus of a heated pool up in cooler areas).

  9. Pick places to visit that are in close proximity so you can uber, metro, or drive and then ditch your car and walk around the rest of the day.
  10. You’d be surprised at how many weight bearing exercises you can knock out just in your room! Exercise bands travel well if you feel body resisted exercises aren’t enough.

  11. Try a local gym. Most gyms give you a trial period of a few days before you have to commit.

Once you return back from your vacation, try to see how you can fit in exercise to your regular routine without having to devote extra time throughout the day to fit it in. This may mean continuing to park further away from where you work, taking the stairs, bike to work if possible and safe

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