Vacation and the exercise junky

The upper body workout

I used to panic every time I went on vacation: when would I exercise? How would I manage to continue to live my healthy lifestyle?

Somewhere between putting in my 14-hour days as a young professional and managing a house full of kids, a dog, and aging parents, I forgot that exercise can take place outside the gym: it doesn’t require a treadmill, a reformer, and an MP3 player.

Over the last few years my family vacations have revealed an awesome and true reality: exercise is everywhere, and exercise in the mountains or on a lake, surrounded by the nature of this gorgeous country, is rejuvenating and fun.

Last week my husband and I packed up the kids and the car and headed to Michigan. We traveled up to the Upper Peninsula and down through Wisconsin and Indiana. Every day we scheduled activities that got our bodies moving, our hearts pumping, our muscles aching. These states are full of opportunities to hike, canoe or kayak, swim, bike, and climb.

Our kids eagerly ran up sand dunes, walked miles to see lighthouses, hiked in search of bears (which we actually saw!), and swam in the waves of the icy Lake Michigan, then the icier Lake Superior.

Vacation exercise is the best kind of exercise. It is approached with anticipation and eagerness.  It is achieved without relentless watch checking. It doesn’t require the distraction of a television. It’s accompanied by laughter and photo ops.

I’ll be honest: it wasn’t all smiles and endorphin highs. I regularly wrestled with muddy wipeouts, plunges in swamps, stinky clothes, mosquito pocked kids, and a car transformed from vehicle to sandy terrain. But at the end of each day we lay down feeling healthy, happy, and relaxed. Not bad, right?

How do you stay active on vacation?

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