During a winter vacation, it's all too easy to replace working out with a cozy mug of hot cocoa. But just because you can't run on a beach in a swimsuit doesn't mean that you can't break a sweat on a cold-weather trip. This guide can help. Print your plane ticket, pack your travel wallet, throw your running shoes in your carry-on, and get ready to take winter vacation fitness by storm with these four tips.
1. Take a guided hike or a meandering walk.
Hopping on a double-decker bus might seem like a great way to see the sites, but taking in your new city by foot can be even more rewarding because you can go at your own pace—and burn calories. Even in the winter, walking (while bundled up) is a great way to get around town. You’ll see local digs, check out famous monuments, and get in a cardio session at the same time. Not sure where to start? Check out sites like Free Tours By Foot to plan your adventure in advance.
2. Use the stairs at your hostel or hotel.
Don’t let icy temperatures and an indoor-centric itinerary throw your fitness off track. On days when it’s too chilly to commit to the outdoors, walk or run up the stairs of your hotel or hostel to get in a workout instead.
And don’t think of climbing stairs as a consolation workout, either. Scaling a flight engages your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, while also working your core and escalating your heart rate. According to a study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, walking up 200 steps twice daily, five days a week can improve VO2 max, a measure of aerobic fitness, by 17 percent within a two-month period.
You can also do calf raises by standing on the balls of your feet with your heels off the edge of the bottom stair. Rise onto your toes, hold that pose for a second, and then lower your heels. Looking to get in some upper-body work? Use the stairs for a challenging incline push-up. Just be sure to keep your body straight, your hands shoulder-width apart, and lower only until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, before lifting up again.
3. Pack resistance bands.
Ensure that you’ll have at least one fitness option on vacation by packing resistance bands in your duffel bag. Work your upper body with moves like the overhead press (done by placing both feet on the band shoulder-width apart and using the handles to press from your shoulders to above your head) and band pull-aparts (done by gripping the middle section of the band and pulling it back until your shoulder blades contract, before squeezing and releasing).
Target your lower body with front squats (perform squats while standing on the band, which you’ll pull up to shoulder height as you squat down).
4. Choose sporty experiences over souvenirs.
When it comes to staying fit on vacation, embracing exploration is key. What better way to discover a new city than to see the sights while trying winter sports? Whether you’re snowshoeing along a trail in Yellowstone or hitting the slopes in a ski-resort village in Quebec, engaging in winter activities is a great way to break a sweat and get in a full-body workout.
For example, moderate downhill skiing works most major muscle groups and taxes your cardiovascular system. Similarly, snowboarding allows you to burn serious calories while getting in a core and leg workout. And a few laps around an ice-skating rink can leave you feeling lighter without straining your joints too much.
Do you have any more tips for staying fit on vacation? Feel free to share your best (and worst!) stories in the comments below.
While Eagle Creek is here to provide tips and insights on travel, we cannot accept any responsibility for any potential consequences arising from the use of this information. Always conduct your own research and use your best judgment.
Related Links (from Eagle Creek blog):
5 Vacations That Are Good For Your Health
Healthy Travel: How to Pack a Travel Fit Kit
5 Outdoor Alternatives to Your Indoor Gym Routine