Thrive 08/ 25/ 2016

Vacation like a wellness rock star

Ahhhh, vacation. Whether you love to lie on the beach with a juicy read and a cocktail or prefer a mountain cabin away from it all, you deserve some rest and rejuvenation.

Even though you’re on a break, working out can be an energizing and fun part of your relaxation plan. You already know that exercise is a great stress reliever and mood booster. Plus, it helps you feel like a bad-ass; research shows people who exercise have more body confidence than those who don’t – so go ahead… #daretobare.

But since vacay takes us out of our regular routines, even the most dedicated gym rat can find it easy to flake on exercise. Read on for expert tips from HealthKick’s partners to stay on track when you travel. You may have to leave the coastline behind, but you’ll be sure to coast back to your regular routine feeling like a million bucks.

Step 1: Be prepared

“Always pack gym clothes so you have no excuse for not being active,” Stacy Schwartz, co-founder and CEO of Ketanga Fitness, tells HealthKick. “I like to wear my sneakers on the plane for comfort and to save space in my suitcase.”

Schwartz also plans her workouts before boarding. “There are tons of fitness apps out there that can help you figure out what to do at the gym or even in your hotel room, if you’re out of town and away from your favorite group class,” she says. “Some of my favorites while on the road are Nike+ Training ClubCoachCasts, and an interval timer for when I’m making up my own routine.”

And if you don’t want to miss out on your fave classes from home, stream one of them (we love the on-demand classes by Physique 57.

You can also stash light, easy-to-carry equipment, like resistance bands or our go-to on-the-go workout: Smart Rope, in your suitcase for a quick workout you can do anywhere.

 Step 2: Plan fun activities

“Use your workout as a way to explore,” says Erica Gragg, co-owner of Escape to Shape. “Try kayaking, surfing, cycling, hiking, local dance–whatever is offered in the area that also allows you to experience the location on a more interactive level.” Book some things in advance so you have the most choices, but also look into what’s local when you arrive.

Think outside of traditional form of exercise, too. “I love to learn about the healthy habits that each culture offers,” says Cait Fraser, founder of Wild Wellness Travel. “Whether it’s fishing, dancing, hiking to breathtaking views, [or] laughing with the locals. Getting out in a fresh culture will expand your mind and nourish your soul.”

Vacay is also a perfect opportunity to try a wellness practice you haven’t been able to make time for at home, like meditation. Download an app like Headspace and give it a shot while you’re away.

 Step 3: Start the day with sweat

Begin your day with a workout, so you get it done, and also get the blood flowing so you can enjoy all that’s coming.

“I like to warm up with 5 to 9 sun salutations, followed by jumping rope,” Gragg says. “[It gets] the blood pumping and the heart rate up fast. And sun salutations are great for stretching, strengthening, lengthening and toning.”

 Step 4: Stay hydrated

You can’t live on cocktails alone (sorry), and there’s nothing like dehydration to sap your energy. Make sure you down plenty of plain agua all day long so you can feel amazing and be ready to swim, bike, jog, play in the surf, or all of the above. “I always travel with a refillable water bottle,” Gragg says. “Stay hydrated and help the environment.”

Step 5: Reward yourself

Whether you’re as active while you’re away as you are at home or not, give yourself props every time you get it done. Everything counts, even dancing the night away at a resort nightclub or taking a stroll on the beach, so yay you. Give yourself a self-care gift as a virtual high five. “I always treat myself to a unique experience when traveling,” says Fraser. “It could be a new style of massage, a mud bath, a long walk on a beautiful beach, or a night out with new friends.”