Updated: Nov 28, 2022
I recently took a much-needed, week-long vacation with my husband. We purposely booked a leisurely itinerary without too many "to-dos." That included working out.
Vacations are one way I take care of my health. They allow me to to relax, recharge and reconnect. The health benefits of exercise - better sleep, strength and mood to name a few - help me have an amazing vacation. But if a workout session is going to stop me from relaxing, recharging or restoring, I don't do it and I don't regret it.
This is a recent shift in behavior. For most of my life I travelled with the stressful goal of not gaining weight. You can imagine how much this blocked my ability to be present and enjoy my time away. (Ayeee the chronic leg pain I developed in Ireland because I was overtraining there! That pain is as vivid a memory as seeing Galway Bay.)
Each time I travelled, I inadvertently invited the worst trip-buddies - punitive eating and exercise - who also came home with me. Maybe these jags have intruded your trips, too.
We are coming upon a season of travel. How can working out help you enjoy your trip more? How can NOT working out help you enjoy your trip more?
It helps to start shifting your exercise mindset now, before you go away, to believing that exercise is a tool for overall health and enjoyment of life. Swap strictness for flexibility. Know that missing a training session, or a few, will not have dire consequences; that your normal routine is always waiting for you or can be adjusted; that the stress you put on yourself to eat or exercise a certain way undermines your health goals.
Dismiss the harsh self-talk and notice how much space you are creating in your mind and heart. Fill it with the experiences and feelings you are having right now. And practice listening to your body because it is always telling you what it needs: food, water, movement, rest.
Understand, too, that vacation workouts away can be activities that you can build into your trip, like exploring a city, hopping ocean waves or hiking in the woods. You don't always have to make it to the gym.
All of this is good preparation for a good trip. Even better prep than finishing up your laundry the day before you leave instead of the hour before. (Or is that just me? It can't be just me.)