Should you exercise while you’re on vacation?

I live in a tourist town on the eastern coast of Mexico. We’re near Cancun & Playa del Carmen. We have a high season where we get an influx of visitors, and a low season where, we still get some visitors – just not as many.

When I talk to folks who are visiting, or even my clients who will be traveling here on vacation, I hear the same fear all the time –  they think that they’re going to gain weight while they’re here. But I’ve found that while living here, it’s been really easy to maintain my weight without any scales, and feel good about my diet (of course, you can be healthy and unhealthy pretty much anywhere! It’s all about our choices.)

should you exercise while on vacation man and woman driving carefree and funWhat’s the difference?

For one, the restaurant portions aren’t nearly the size that they are in the states. And because imported food is more expensive, and the food that’s local is cheaper and easier to get, it’s easier to eat a diet full of vegetables and low in processed foods here.

There are lots of active things to do in our town: ride bikes, snorkel, swim, SCUBA, or take a nice long walk on the beach.

So it always stands out when I see visitors slogging down the street in their athletic-wear trying to keep up with their workouts.

It’s hot and really humid here. And quite honestly, these folks look miserable.

And although part of me wants to cheer them on, “Yaay you! You’re working out even though you’re on vacation!!” after living here for over 2 years, I wonder: Why can’t they just relax and enjoy their vacation?

Maybe it’s because I see life differently now – since I’ve moved away from the American mindset – that it’s all a matter of prioritizing, balance and being present and in the moment.

I’ve changed my priorities so that my health supports my other interests – versus my health being my prioritized interest.

Now, in years before – when I was a personal trainer, I wrote many different workouts for clients who were going on vacation, encouraged my clients to do it, and there were plenty of times that I worked out while on vacation myself.

And those clients that I encouraged to workout while away – typically it was because they were inconsistent in their efforts when they weren’t on vacation.

So, if we’re consistently working out when we’re not on vacation – in the normal day to day – there’s really not a good reason why we need to exercise while we’re on vacation.

We can go weeks without exercising without losing fitness. There’s no reason to stress out about it.

And I guess the words “stress out” are my point.

As a culture, we seem to be entirely stressed out about everything.

And stress is much more damaging to our health than not exercising for a week. .

So if you’re being consistent with your workouts during non-vacation times, the rest that you’ll take during your vacation can be so beneficial for your mindset and recovering your body that taking the week off and the extra hours of sleep will actually be good for you.

Recovery is just as important – if not MORE important than the time we spend exercising.

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