Planning an Active Vacation

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Vacations are good for us. Studies show that they lower our stress levels and help us recharge — which is crucial, given how dangerous stress can be for both our physical and mental health. Furthermore, studies prove that vacations can actually make us more productive and happier employees when we return to work (or more productive and happier students when we return to school). Vacations are good for us!

And vacations are even better for us when we choose to spend them doing active and healthy things. While any type of mental break will help you combat burnout and lower your stress levels, you’ll be even better off if you also enjoy some time in the sun, eat healthy (and delicious) food, and break a sweat once in a while.

Enjoying an active and healthy vacation takes a little extra planning, but it is well worth the effort. Here are a few things to consider as you plan an active vacation.

Choose the right location

Vacations are all about finding the perfect spot to enjoy some time away from work or school. But choosing the right spot is especially important if you want to have a healthful vacation.

Sightseeing in big cities is great, but consider a more outdoorsy location for your next vacation. Take Florida, for instance. When you head to a place like Palm Beach, you’ll find plenty of room to take long walks or runs on the beach. You’ll get some sun, which can be healthy (just be sure to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful side). And you’ll have access to exciting and invigorating activities such as water sports.

Plan the right activities

Speaking of those exciting and invigorating activities, make sure that you plan ahead for them! If you want to try surfing off the shores of Jupiter or paddle boarding Palm Beach, then you should make reservations for lessons, rental equipment, and other essentials early on. With your reservations in hand, you’ll be sure that you can actually enjoy the exciting outdoor activities that a place like Florida has to offer. Plus, making reservations and concrete plans will help you stick to your commitment to enjoy an active vacation, even if the tiki bar seems to be calling (you’ll be glad that you committed, too, because exercising releases endorphins that will help you enjoy your vacation even more.

Plan the right meals

It’s not too tough to get some exercise on vacation. Plan a few activities, take some long walks as you sightsee, or just grab some time for a quick jog on the beach before lunch — easy! But eating well on vacation isn’t always so simple. Resort towns and tourist hot spots tend to have a lot of delicious food, but it’s fair to say that there can sometimes be a shortage of healthy options.

That’s why it’s important to plan out at least some of your meals ahead of time. Check out restaurant menus and make reservations so that you don’t end up grabbing an unhealthy hamburger at some beachside Florida bar. Consider packing in some of your healthy favorites or making a run to the grocery store early in the vacation for some healthy options.

Give yourself a break

Vacations are good for us, and they’re even better when we make them active, healthy trips. But don’t ruin the mental health benefits of your vacation by focusing too much on trying to get the maximum physical benefits. Don’t run yourself into the ground or beat yourself up every time you sip a decadent drink.

And schedule some fun that won’t tax your body. A trip to a nearby casino or resort can be a “site for shore eyes” after a long day of sun and exercise on the beach. And one indulgent meal won’t kill you. The goal is to make your fun and relaxing vacation a bit healthier, not to turn it into a chore. Find the right balance, and you’ll get the most out of your healthful vacation.

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