With proper planning, vacations remain fitness-friendly

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules all can lead to major disruptions in fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, staying in hotels or with family, you can keep fitness part of each day, though.

Here are a few tips to make your vacation fitness-friendly.

Sitting a car for a few hours or many hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Car trips are notorious for eating the wrong foods with little physical activity. Try packing a small cooler with some nutritious snacks.

Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn.

Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It could be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.”

At times, airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry-on? You’ve all seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them, if time allows. There are many places to walk and stairs to take in many airports. When it comes to having a snack or meal, remember that many of the food vendors offer nutritious choices.

Consuming fewer calories, while being less active, is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water offer good choices.

Many hotels and resorts have fitness centers located within the buildings. Although your choices might be limited, remember that any movement is better than nothing. Try to combine some cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer, for example — with some strength training.

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Here are some ideas for your hotel room. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands. They can be purchased at many health clubs and local retailers or online. Resistance bands are a great idea for strength training. You can wrap them around a bed post or door knob.

Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences affect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a light weight workout. Be creative! Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Take, for instance, the push up. This is a great upper body strength exercise and doesn’t need anything but you to perform it. Sit-ups, leg-lifts and arm circles are just a few of the exercises that can be performed without any equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise is important when traveling. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t under estimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear sunscreen and comfortable shoes and bring along water. You might get in more heart-healthy exercise by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead before your trip or vacation, you’ll be more prepared to keep your workout routine on schedule. Going on vacation, no matter the plan or destination, you can exercise and eat right with just a little planning. It’s a vacation! Enjoy!