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Exercise? But I am on Vacation!

June 4, 2010

Did you know that vacations are one of five situations that precede a lapse in exercise? According to sport psychologists, boredom, lack of time, laziness, illness, and yes, vacations can preempt exercise adherence. Many people put forth tremendous effort to begin and maintain a regular exercise program only to have their efforts sabotaged by a vacation get-away. There are two comments I consistently hear from clients returning from vacation:

1)    I am struggling to get back into my exercise routine, and
2)    Wow! I feel less fit than before I left.

These comments address two key points, 1) successful adoption of a new behavior requires consistency, and 2) fitness levels decline without maintenance.  Maintaining a regular exercise routine during your vacation will make it easier to return to your regular training program as well as maintain your current fitness level. Here are five strategies for including exercise into your vacation:

1.    Set a goal for frequency and intensity.
Attempt to maintain the same frequency and intensity of your regular exercise routine. For example, if you normally workout twice a week, plan for two weekly exercise sessions during your vacation. In order to maintain the fitness level you have worked so hard to achieve, your vacation exercise intensity should be similar to your regular exercise sessions, although the duration may be shorter.
2.   Plan
Don’t leave your vacation exercise up to chance. Plan out each session with a specific day, time and activity.
3.    Change it up
Try something new, for example take that yoga class you have always wanted to try, workout on the beach, or learn how to surf!
4.    Social support
Identify family and friends ready and willing to be active and recruit workout buddies ahead of time.
5.   Schedule your return training session.
Before you leave for vacation, schedule your return exercise session. This will increase accountability and help you get right back into your exercise routine.

Vacation is a time to relax and rejuvenate. This is the same for your workout program. If you have been training very intensely for an athletic event, time a way from your training may be just what you need. This would be an ideal time to cross train with some different activities. However, if you typically struggle to get back into your regular exercise routine and do not wish to lose the fitness you have developed, put vacation exercise plan on your travel checklist.


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