10 Realistic Ways to Stay Healthy and Feel Your Best on Vacation


If you're concerned about staying active and healthy on your vacation, then you've probably already heard the usual advice: Say no to alcohol, skip the desserts and work out in the mornings before anyone wakes up.

This advice may mean well, but it's, uh, just a little depressing. Who wants to go on vacation just to feel tied down by countless rules?

We say nix all the ultra-restrictive measures and take a gentler approach that focuses on feeling good above anything else.

Introduce indulgences slowly

The whole point of vacation is to indulge! You're breaking out of your routine, seeing new things, and, yes, trying delicious food. This may mean a three-cheese quesadilla at a beach resort or a decadent brownie after dinner on the town. Go ahead and expect to indulge, but take it slowly at first so you don't get an upset tummy or feel your energy levels crash. Even just knowing you can have anything you want will likely stop you from binging.


Drink lots of water

Water is your best friend on vacation. Drink lots of it. Whether you'll be on long flights, lounging on a hot beach, or eating more sodium or sugar than usual, none of these things are worth overly worrying about. Simply resolve to drink a little more H20 to help your body manage this extra stressor.


Remember hunger and fullness

Closely monitoring calories or carbs as you eat out at restaurants is a great way to be completely absent from the present moment. Instead, remember something much easier: Do your best to eat when you're hungry and stop when you're full. That's it. In other words, worry more about portion sizes than the contents of your plate. The goal here is to feel satisfied not stuffed with whatever you choose.


Try "active" tourist activities.

There's nothing more tiring than feeling like you have to hit the hotel gym every morning in to stay fit on vacation. Use this opportunity to rethink exercise. When you're at home, your daily trip to the gym or your nightly run may feel necessary after you've been sitting at a desk the majority of the day. On vacation, you don't need to be so strict because you'll likely be naturally more active. Hike the nearby trails, go on walking tours each day and enjoy swimming around in the pool or ocean. This "exercise" will add up.


Focus on fruits and veggies

Another easy-to-follow nutrition tip for vacation is to focus on what you can add to your meal, not what to take away. In other words, add fruits and veggies whenever you can and worry less about the rest. Are you eating pizza for dinner? Eat that pizza! Just add a veggie-filled side salad. Want some ice cream for dessert? No big deal! Just don't forget the fresh fruit topping. This fiber will help keep things, ahem, regular and also keep you feeling good.


Take regular movement breaks

If you're not at a location that affords a lot of opportunity for activities, consider adding chunks of simple movement into your day. For example, if you're planning a beach vacation where you simply want to relax by the water with a good book, take three 10-minute breaks to go on a quick walk by the water or for a swim. Believe it or not, these little chunks are all you need to meet your daily exercise requirement.


Scope out a cooking class

If all the eating out makes you feel a bit weighed down and blah, try a local cooking class wherever you're vacationing. Not only is this a great way to check out the local cuisine and refine your culinary chops, but the food will likely give your stomach a break from heavier restaurant grub.


Take Vitamin C

There is nothing worse than getting struck by a terrible head cold while on vacation, yet if you're traveling by airplane or other mass transit, it can be pretty common. Make sure your stay-healthy plan for vacation includes your immune system, too. One easy way to prevent colds: Pack Vitamin C supplements and take them daily as instructed.


Prioritize sleep

Getting plenty of sleep is one of the most important ways to feel good on vacation. Make sure you understand any time zone differences ahead of time and have a plan for getting adjusted to your new rhythm as quickly as possible. Now may also be a good time to try a natural supplement, such as melatonin, or to actually follow that no-screen-time-before-bed rule that you typically ignore.


Live a little!

Vacation is meant to be fun, relaxing and a break from the everyday grind. Don't bog yourself down with complex health rules. Focus instead on feeling good, which can usually be achieved without intense and restrictive measures. Remember you'll be home before you know it, and you can get right back into your normal routine!


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