Spring vacations are an opportunity to unwind, but they don’t have to derail healthy habits. Plan ahead to ensure that fitness, healthy foods, and safety are part of the holiday.
In fact, members of TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, can attend chapter meetings in other locations while traveling to keep their wellness momentum going. Consider the following tips for a spring without regret.
• Don’t neglect a workout routine. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s important to exercise at least 2.5 hours each week. Spring break is a time to relax, but vacationers should be conscious of their activity level. Take breaks from lying on the beach to go for a walk, play volleyball, go swimming, head to the tennis courts, or take a bike ride. Make sure to raise the heart rate and be active to avoid spring weight gain.
• Participate in activities. Go on excursions or ask the hotel concierge about opportunities to get moving–snorkeling, dance classes, a fitness center, rock climbing, kayaking, and more.
• Eat a nutritious breakfast. Don’t start the day with an empty stomach. A nutritious breakfast helps control appetite, and reduces the inclination to snack or overindulge during the day. Breakfast can also keep energy levels up.
• Dine wisely. Do the research. Check out destinations online and look at restaurant menus before the trip. This will give an opportunity to find places that serve healthy options. Be careful at all-you-can-eat buffets and opt to share a meal with someone to control portion sizes.
• Stick to a regular eating schedule. Following normal eating habits will decrease the temptation to eat high-calorie snacks and treats.
• Indulge in moderation. It’s okay to enjoy a treat, but limit consumption. For instance, instead of an entire ice cream sundae, just have a scoop.
• Don’t forget the SPF. Sun exposure can cause premature aging, changes in skin texture, and skin cancer. To avoid the negative effects of the sun, use sunscreen and reapply throughout the day and after being in the water, wear a hat, and put on sunglasses.
• Bring first-aid supplies. Make sure to pack bandages, hand sanitizer, antibiotic ointment, ibuprofen, cold medicine, and more in case they’re needed. A first-aid kit is especially useful on a road trip.
• Limit alcohol consumption. Drink in moderation–not more than one to two drinks each day–and opt for lower calorie beverages, like a glass of wine, light beer, or spritzer.
• Hydrate. It’s essential to drink water, especially when visiting hot destinations or consuming alcohol. According to the Mayo Clinic, an appropriate amount of water for men is about 13 cups and nine cups for women.
Make Time to Relax
• Get enough sleep. It’s easy to stay up late during vacation, but try to get eight hours of sleep each night. Fit in afternoon naps during the week to regain energy for activities.
• Leave work at home. Delegate tasks to coworkers. If needing to check email or voicemail, allot a specific amount of time each day so as not to focus on the office.
• Take care of yourself. It can be difficult to relax in the “real world” because of all the responsibilities–work, kids, activities, etc. Make room for some “you time” during the trip. Get a massage, play a few rounds of golf, or go shopping.
Plan a “Staycation”
Staycations are a great way to relax and save money while unwinding at home. Take Friday or Monday off work for a long weekend to relieve stress.
• Go on a bike ride.
• Have a picnic at a park or in the backyard.
• Turn the backyard into a cozy retreat. Use candles, put up a hammock, or purchase a portable fire pit.
• Create an in-home spa with candles, homemade facials, manicures and pedicures, and relaxing music. Invite friends to join you.