Traveling means eating out a lot more than usual, ordering rich foods you may not necessarily make at home. Or picking at your kids’ fried meals because you just need one or two fries or the chicken finger they didn’t eat. Desserts always seem to be a welcome option, too, when on vacation and snacks are a must, because we all get hungry from all of the touring and walking around.
When traveling with kids it’s not so easy to take off at any time to hit the gym or go for a run. Moreover, you may be staying in an Airbnb without a gym. If you are like me, you may not be a morning person or a runner (like my husband, who will get up at 4:30am to get in 10+miles). So how do you stay fit while on vacation with the kids? I have come up with seven ways to keep fit when traveling–especially if you are not a runner.
Walk From Site to Site
If you are touring in a city, depending on how much your kids can handle, create an itinerary that has you walking from site to site. Forgo the taxi or metro ride and walk. Walking also lets you get to know the city better as well. Make sure you have sturdy shoes for this, as you don’t want you feet to get tired. Walking is some of the best exercise you can do. Every time we go to Disney World, we clock 10-11 miles per day, which is good because our diets are not so good while there.
Carry a Day Pack Filled With Reusable Water Bottles and Cameras
When we travel, we always try to bring our reusable water bottles, extra sweaters or jackets and camera gear. Add this to a daypack and you’ve put in at least an additional 5-6 lbs of gear on your back to carry while walking from location to location. The additional weight will help you to burn the calories you ate and drank during dinner the night before.
Carry The Kids
At some point, the younger kids are going to want to be carried. This is a great work out for your bicep muscles and leg muscles. Holding that 30-40lbs of kid in your arms is really going to test how strong you are and sooner than later you will start to feel the burn. Once the burn sets in, put them on your shoulders and make your legs do the work. Those thigh and hip muscles will be put into motion.
Squat Down to Your Kids Level
When talking to your kids about what they are seeing, don’t just bend over, squat down. You will be amazed at how many squats you will get out throughout the day. Besides it brings you down to their eye level. When at a museum looking at a piece of art, squat right next to your child and talk to them about the artwork. Same thing when you are in a cathedral or even an aquarium. Doesn’t matter where you are, just make sure to squat to their level. Your legs will love you for it.
Don’t Travel With Kids? No Problem. Learn how to stay fit while on vacation and still have fun (without the little ones).
Climb That Medieval Stair Master
Many old cathedrals in Europe come with a good bell tower with hundreds of circular stairs going to the top. If not too busy, try to race your kids to the top. Be careful, though, as some stairs have become slippery with age and foot traffic. If you happen to be in one of those small hilly European towns like Cortona in Italy, most likely you, will find stairs leading to the top of the hill. Once again, challenge your kids up this medieval stair master. Bet the kids will win. Visiting Iceland? Make sure to stop at Skogafoss and give the steps to the top of the waterfall at try. That, for sure, will make you short of breath. Maybe you happen to be in Chaing Mai, Thailand, and are visiting Doi Suthep Wat. First, you must climb the 300 steps up to get to the Wat. Here is another opportunity to run those calories off. Oh, and how about Temple IV at Tikal, Guatemala? That one will challenge you for sure. Add the back pack and you will have burnt even more calories climbing those stairs to get to the top of the temple to watch the sunrise or to look out over the jungle. It’s not hard to find places with many stairs to climb when traveling. Make it into a game with the kids. Either race them or count the stairs and see what number you come out with. Bet ya it will be different for each person.
Get Out Of That Beach Chair
If you are on a beach vacation or by the pool, it’s very tempting to just want to sit back and watch your kids play in the sand or water. Get up and get dirty. Start digging that sand to make a sandcastle. You will feel it in your core and your biceps and triceps. Create races into the ocean on the beach. Start at the top of the beach and race your kids all the way into the water. If the kids are in the pool, swim with them into the deep end. You will have to tread water, which is great for your core. If the pool isn’t too busy, you can have swim races from one end to the other. Swimming uses every muscle in your body and is one of the best exercises you can do. If you haven’t done it in a while, don’t be surprised at how tired you get so quickly.
Schedule a Hike
Spend a day getting out into nature. Being outdoors in nature, climbing over rocks, roots, fallen tree branches is guaranteed to burn the calories. Kids will love it too. It’s a great respite from the hustle and bustle of cities while on vacation.