Andrew Wardlow (Panama City, Fla.) / News Herald

Have fun on vacation, and look for ways to maintain or extend your normal level of exercise.

Use vacation time to maintain fitness

Published: Thursday, Jun. 28, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

You might have to put down the frozen cocktail for this. Now raise your hand if this sounds like a personal mantra of yours: Vacation is a weeklong excuse to be decadent, lazy and indulgent. But if you've got a vacation coming up and don't want to undo all your hard fitness work, check out these tips from Pete McCall, exercise physiologist with the American Council on Exercise.

Pick the right location: If you're still in the planning phase, look for hotels or rentals near a beach or park where you can easily fit in lots of activities with your friends and family.

Arm yourself: Find out if you can bring bikes or rent them where you're staying for a fun, active way to explore. Or bring sports equipment like a Frisbee, kickball, football or softball equipment to play on the beach or in a park.

Do a little homework: Scout out a yoga studio or gym before you go, and find out if you can get a day or week pass.

Focus your efforts: Instead of floating around the pool and calling it good, set aside 20 to 30 minutes where you'll exercise with moderate intensity, and then stretch afterward.

Expand your fitness horizons: Try new activities, like surfing, stand-up paddleboarding or mountain biking. But one word of caution: Be honest about your skill level – nothing kills a happy vacation vibe like an injury.

Sip smartly: When your vacation destination is 10 to 15 degrees warmer than you're used to, make it a point to hydrate often. If you're drinking more alcohol than usual, drink even more water to make up for alcohol's dehydrating effect.

Plan for your return: Consider coming home a day early to give yourself time to stock your kitchen with healthy food for the coming week – and upload all your fabulous vacation pictures to Facebook.

For more tips, visit

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