Instead of paying for expensive bus tours, explore your destination away from home while also saving a little dough by checking out the destination on foot. Although there are guide-led walking tours available in most major cities, hoofing it on your own allows you to take your time to see the sights and customize your vacation the way your family wants to spend it. This is important for families with young ones, who may need to make several trips back to the hotel throughout the day for naps, feedings and such.
Since the goal of family vacations is to have fun, knowing that you don't have to take extra time for family fitness can take the guilt out of letting loose. When you plan accordingly, excursions like hiking, snorkeling or simply splashing around in the hotel pool can burn calories without putting a damper on your good times.
Most hotels and cruise ships have at least some sort of fitness center, so if exercising on vacation is crucial for you, talk to the reservations associate about the facilities before booking any reservations. If you have young children, wake up a little early and ask your partner to watch the kids while you get in a quick cardio session, then do the same for him the following day.
If your children are older, let them join you in the mini-gym and get sweating together before getting into vacation mode.
"Children do what they see. They imitate what they are exposed to. If you want children to move more, then parents should move more," advises Frank Pucher, award-winning personal fitness trainer and owner of Fitness 121 Personal Training in New Jersey. "Parents who move more and lead active lifestyles have children who move and lead active lifestyles."
Instead of just lounging on the beach, try to sneak in a little family fitness while taking in the sunshine. Whether you take a family jog or walk, toss a Frisbee or football around or chase your kiddos around in the surf, your body works a little harder when trying to keep stable on the sand's soft surface. That helps you and your brood burn off those vacation pounds long before you head home.
Instead of taking a subway, bus or cab to the various destinations on your vacation itinerary, walk instead! When making your travel plans, choose a hotel that is within walking distance (not too far but not too close) of many of the city's main attractions so you can get in as many steps as possible while enjoying your vacation and seeing sights that you might simply miss by taking public transportation.
You don't have to go overboard with exercise while on vacation, but engaging in a little physical activity aids in digestion and helps you burn off those extra calories you indulged in for dessert. Take a family stroll downtown, do a little shopping after lunch or walk back to your hotel after your meal instead of catching a cab — it all counts as family fitness when you're on vacation.
You may be tempted to take the elevator from your room to the lobby and back, but resist the temptation and opt for the stairs instead. Make it a game by having the kids count the stairs or guess which floor you're on and how many sets of stairs you have to go until you reach your destination.
After a long day of sightseeing, help your kids shake out the last of their energy by having an impromptu freeze-dance party in your hotel room before bed. Blast some favorite tunes from your phone and boogie for a few minutes before pausing the music for everyone to "freeze." Repeat until everyone is pooped!
A leisurely bike ride not only lets you see the city while on family vacations, but it also burns tons of calories while disguised as fun. Inquire with your hotel about local bicycle rentals or hook up with a bike-tour company for an adventure on two wheels. Little ones will love the ride, too!
Many family-friendly resorts (as well as cruise ships) offer fun kids' and adult activities that incorporate exercises such as beach volleyball or hula-hooping — the latter of which is a great core workout!
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