In many ways, vacations are good for you. Experts say that taking a break from your work and your daily life can help you avoid burnout and return to your daily tasks with renewed focus and increased productivity. Vacations can also reduce stress, and health experts tell us that stress can be extremely dangerous for both our mental and physical health.

 

But, in other ways, vacations can be a little less than ideal for our health. We’ve all returned from vacations and found that we’ve packed on a few pounds without meaning to, and plenty of us have taken entire weeks off and spend them doing little more than lounging around. Vacations are often full of unhealthy eating options and limited physical activity, and that can be bad for the waistline.

And being overweight is, of course, not healthy, say the experts at the Bariatric Wellness and Surgical Institute at JFK Medical Center. Being overweight can increase your risk of many other health problems. And even if you’re not overweight, experts say, it’s never good to skip exercising and load up on unhealthy foods. That’s why you should be careful when you’re on vacation, and why you should strive to make your vacations healthier.

 

Easier said than done, right? We have some tips for you.

Make exercise fun…

If you hate jogging, then committing to waking up early every day on vacation and running around is not going to work for you. You’ll either ruin your vacation or (more likely) not actually follow through on your exercise plans. Here’s a better solution: Make exercise a vacation activity.

 

You can find a ton of fun things to do that will get you moving while on vacation, say the experts at Get Wet Water Sports. Taking a scuba diving tour or learning how to surf won’t necessarily feel like “workouts” — they’ll feel like the fun vacation that you dreamed of. Meanwhile, of course, they’ll be helping to get you moving!

…And make it part of the plan

Vacations can include fun spontaneous moments, but don’t rely on those to get your proper exercise. Instead, carve out time in your vacation schedule and dedicate it to doing something healthy.

 

This is an obvious decision when you have to book something like surfing lessons, but why do you need to schedule and plan out a walk on the beach? Because, of course, you’re more likely to stick to your decision if you make an event of it. When you don’t plan specific times for walking around and getting exercise, you’ll end up having your exercise crowded out by other vacation activities.

Scope out your healthy eating options ahead of time

Planning is key for active vacations. It’s also key to eating well. If you’re making dinner reservations for your vacation, then you should be checking out the menus online. Make a point of hunting down healthy places with great low-calorie, nutritious options.

 

And if you can’t find healthy places, plan ahead. If you know you’ll be rushing around the airport on your way to your vacation, for instance, then consider packing a lunch. That way, you can choose to include healthy foods that the airport fast food joints don’t offer.

Of course, not every meal on your vacation needs to be health-focused. Your goal here should be balance and options. Eat consciously and make smart choices, but don’t beat yourself up if you want to grab a beachside hamburger one night. This is still your vacation, after all — it’s just a little bit better for you than it would otherwise have been.