5 Tips to Stay Fit & Have Fun On Spring Break

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Hi!  Welcome back to #FitFriday.  Spring Break is a great time to celebrate and forget your daily to-do list.  It's an opportunity to take a break from school, work and the day-to-day struggles of life.  Many people have difficulty finding balance between vacation and engaging in unhealthy activities.  Planning a vacation and all the "to do" things on your list can be exciting, but one thing we often forget to plan for is exercise.  Here are 5 tips and tricks to help you find equilibrium between food and fun:

1)  Stay hydrated.  It's easy to forget to drink plenty of water when outside your regular rhythms and routine.  Water helps to prevent heat exhaustion and empowers your physical systems to maintain maximum operational efficiency.  Keep a water bottle with you and fill it up periodically as a reminder to drink water throughout the day.  

2)  Remain Active.  Walk to your destination instead of driving.  You don't have to make a trip to the gym to get plenty of exercise.  Remember, you are still working out if you are swimming, surfing, hiking or riding a bicycle.  The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 30 minutes of activity per day, 5 days a week.  That is an easy goal to build into your vacation schedule.  Use the stairs instead of the elevator at the hotel.  Park far away from the front door to get your steps for the day.  

3)  Don't skip meals.  Studies show that skipping meals can cause the body to misinterpret those metabolic cues and actually lead to weight gain.  Other side effects of being hungry include a grumpy demeanor, and a lack of energy.  In fact, a long stretch between meals can actually lead to overeating once you do sit down to eat.  Your metabolism may have a difficult time adjusting which can lead to weight gain.  It's okay to have some junk food, just be sure to balance that with healthy meals.  Better yet, pack healthy snacks and munch throughout the day so you don't overindulge.  

4)  Use the beach as your gym.  Walk along the shoreline.  Walking in the sand is a great workout for the legs and core and burns between 20 and 50 percent more calories than regular walking.  Moreover, swimming is great exercise--doing a few laps against the waves can help you burn those extra ice cream calories.  Give paddle boarding or kayaking a go for a fantastic upper body and core workout.  

5)  Get plenty of rest.  You can stay up all night, just be sure to get the requisite 7-8 hours of sleep every 24 hours.  According to Dr. Merrill Mitler, a sleep expert and neuroscientist at the NIH, "sleep services all aspects of our body in one way or another:  molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood."  

Lastly, give yourself a break and accept you may not be able to work out as much as you would at home.  Believe it or not, it is possible to have a fantastic time, eat amazing food and not come home feeling guilty - all you need to do is prepare in advance.  I hope these tips and tricks will help you enjoy your Spring Break.  Tune in next Friday for more helpful information.  See you soon!  Warmly, Susan