So, you’re taking a vacation to Spain? Good for you! You’ve earned it, and goodness knows Spain is beautiful this—and any—time of year.
I bet you’re thrilled to spend the next couple weeks kicking back with a glass of wine from the Rioja region of the country, or dipping your toes in the beaches of San Sebastian. Maybe you’ve made plans to tour a vineyard, sample local cuisine in a few small villas, or indulge in the art and culture that abounds throughout the country?
Either way, I’m sure your itinerary is chock-full mind-easing, peace bringing activities. And you’re probably most excited to get your exercise groove going on European ground.
Wait, what’s that? Your itinerary doesn’t include a workout regime?!
Exercise takes no vacations
If you spend an hour a day at the gym during your work week, you need to keep that momentum up even when your out-of-office email reply is set to respond “Basking in the Spanish sun, will return when I feel like it.” Nothing makes coming back from vacation more difficult than trying to get both your mind and body back in sync with their normal schedule.
Spain is known for its picturesque beaches, tantalizing cuisine, exciting nightlife and beautiful people. But there’s a lot more than leisure on the sands of España.
Anyway, how do you think those people got so beautiful in the first place?
They work out.
Do yourself a favor and capitalize on the opportunities for exercise that traveling offers you. Here are a few ways to avoid turning your vacation into a ten-day siesta.
Don’t get lazy about not being lazy
Now, don’t take that to mean that a 20-minute jog around the hotel parking lot will suffice to fill your daily exercise quota. One of the greatest things about traveling to a new place is opportunity trying your life on for size in a new environment.
What do I mean by that?
Wake up at your normal time, eat meals at roughly the same hours you would if you were home, and—most crucially—work out for the same amount of time, at the same time of day, as you would at home. Just do it all with an exotic backdrop.
Not only will this keep your workout on track, it’ll take the stress out of transitioning back into normal life post-Spain less of a heartbreaker.
Embrace the resistance
A beachfront home with ocean views is something most of us dream about, but few actually get to live. While you’re on vacation, make that fantasy come true by turning your morning jog into a sandy trot along the ocean’s edge.
Sand provides natural resistance to runners, giving your calve, thigh and core muscles a workout paralleled by nothing—not even the most expensive elliptical on the market.
Plus, what better way to scope out the perfect lounge spot for the afternoon than a pre-dawn run down along the water’s edge?
Yoga your way through Madrid
Like all major U.S. cities, every city in Spain has a smattering of yoga classes for beginner, intermediate or advanced yogis and yoginis. Taking a class at home right now? Google some European options and make a reservation to attend a class while you’re visiting, too.
Unlike the classes you can take in Chicago, New York, Milwaukee or Austin, you’ll find something in a Spanish yoga class that you can’t find stateside: outdoor classes.
Maybe you’ve tried Bikram, or “hot,” yoga? Well, in Spain, you don’t need a steam room—you just go outside.
Walk your vacation away
Rather than working exercise into your vacation, why not turn the vacation into exercising?
If you’re an outdoorsy type, mapping a hike through the Spanish mountains or even just taking a day trip into wine country for an excursion into the countryside is a perfect way to keep your body up-to-snuff while letting your mind take a break.
Check out the internet in your locality for a detailed outline of the walking tours available. They range from one day adventures to weeklong excursions, and vary in difficulty from leisurely stroll to Olympic hike.
Swim with the fishes
As the only zero-impact sport out there, it never ceases to surprise me how few people actually take it upon themselves to exercise by swimming every day. Of course, the pool at your local YMCA probably isn’t the most inviting body of water you’ve ever seen.
But there’s no time like the present—especially if your “present” plants you in Spain—to test the waters. It’s a win-win scenario: Sea salt does wonders for your hair, and the natural minerals present in sea water are great for your skin.
If you’re in northwest Spain, dip into the chilly Bay of Biscay to jump-start your heart. Or, if you’re staying nearer to the eastern coast, submerge yourself in the healing Mediterranean for an all benefit, no-impact workout.
Bring your own supplies
If you’re worried about being outside your comfort zone while working out in a foreign country, pack your workout security blanket. You know what I mean: those three-pound walking weights you’ve used for years, or that Pilates stretch band that’s been around since before you had abs.
Whatever you have at home to get your workout moving, pack it with your sunscreen, flip-fops and summer dress. I bet you’ll find yourself venturing out of the hotel room after you’ve tried your routine once or twice behind closed doors, but before you jump in, warm yourself up with a taste of home.
Vacation should make you feel good, not guilty, lethargic or regretful. Allow yourself plenty of time to kick back, and don’t stop yourself from having a second glass of sangria or an empanada after dinner. Knowing you have a kick-butt morning workout to look forward to will make enjoying vacation that much easier.
If you really want to rejuvenate your mind and cleanse your soul while on vacation, keep your body moving. Vacation should give you a break from life so that you can live the longest, happiest version of it.
So, as the Spanish say, ¡Viva larga vida!
Dr. Mike Tremba loves writing, speaking, and of course, travelling. He hopes his life experiences will encourage others to follow their dreams of being fit, healthy, and travelling the world. From his Truth About Six Pack Abs program review, to his Diet Solutions Program review, he is always finding ways to improve the lives of those he serves.