How to Make any Vacation Healthier!

Posted on

Healthy vacations can happen anywhere, but the vacationer has to make it happen.

There are as many vacations as there are types of people in the world, and we all choose the vacation that makes us or someone else happy. eg.  go to Disneyworld with your kids to fulfill one of their “dreams”.

We’ll define a vacation as time when you escape the daily routine of working and do something that you need or want to do.

Vacations as time off work, are necessary for everyone to recharge and enjoy like. Too much work, like too much food, and drink is not healthy.  Choice of vacation is determined by budget, time off and psychological needs.

When I was a kid my Mom and Dad and I packed up the rambler and drove to a city where we knew someone, so we could stay at their home instead of a motel.  We’d work our way around the country for 2 weeks, to see friends and avoid paying for a motel.  The weeks of vacation that we didn’t do that, we all worked on a project building a deck, re-shingling the house, or planting a garden.  These were clearly my Dad’s vacation choices because he was the only one who worked, and therefore needed a vacation.  Those were the days.

Now John and I find places with different topography, an ocean or mountains to go and stay for a week and enjoy the physical and scenic activities that make us feel better and healthier.  Our goals of recharging are the same, but our method is quite different.

Healthy vacations can happen anywhere, but the vacationer has to make it happen.  This is harder in some environments than is others.  Choosing a skiing vacation for example is easier to stay healthy and get exercise than the choice of an all you can eat cruise or visiting grandma who spend her day happily cooking food for everyone to overeat.

1. Choice of vacations 

  • Home
  • Drive to see something new or old friends
  • Sport vaca: skiing, riding horses, running, biking, spa vaca
  • Relax recharge

2. Goal of vacation: Why do you go on vacation?

  • Recharge?
  • Do what you want to go somewhere where no one knows you, so you can be bad?
  • Relieve stress
  • Get healthy
  • Bond with family
  • Make your kids happy? (Disney world)
  • Experience something new?
  • Fulfill your bucket list?
  • Exercise: Sport vacation?
  • Hobby vacation? Show off and see friends Eg. The antique car club
  • Driving sightseeing vacation?
  • Visit family
  • Stay-cation?

If our goal is to recharge, then having hangovers and staying up all night gambling is not the way to recharge and is not what we’re advocating. Here are a few ways you can make your vaca healthy:


Beach: walk the beach and soak up the iodine from the waves crashing on the shore.

Wear sunscreen but don’t completely block out the sun because vitamin D is one of the vitamins that improves your mood.  Eat local fruit and vegetables and avoid processed baked goods.  Walk the beach every morning or evening to get your exercise. Remember you can ruin all the good you do by over drinking alcohol and sugary drinks!  With these things in place you can do all the other things that the beach brings to offer.

Cruises:  All you can eat cruises are deadly for your health if your purpose is to eat your weight in food over the week, but you can get more of your money’s worth by picking out the fresh fruit and vegetables, skipping desserts, drinking moderately and rationing the sweet drinks like marguerite’s (540 calories/ average size glass) and pinna coladas (540 calories/ average glass) , and  sharing one dessert for the whole table and engaging in the exercise classes and on shore activities that are offered on these floating cities.

These ships are great for kids who can get their food independently and enjoy activities with other kids leaving you to enjoy adult activities, but you’re not growing so don’t eat like a kid!

For many people vacations are opportunities to do something adventurous, perhaps something new or unusual. If you are undertaking some new physical activity you need to give thought to your usual exercise patterns. The last thing you want to do is be on vacation and end up in the ER or having to go to a doctor for a treatment because you have strained a muscle, or gotten a severe sunburn, experienced some accident because you are doing some physical activity for which you are neither trained nor ready. Remember the guides teaching you do this all the time they are not on vacation and are not showing off for their friends and family.

Horseback riding, skiing, skydiving, scuba diving, even golf or hiking can cause you injuries and problems if you are not ready for them physically and mentally.

Healthy vacations are not just about eating and drinking, they are about remembering that when you are on a break from your regular routine you are at risk for some unexpected or overly intense experience that can end in damage to you and your healthy. If you ARE going skiing, hiking or any other activity that requires different muscle strength from your daily activity, then start training 6 weeks before vacation, and strengthen the muscles that are used in your vacation activity.

How many times have you heard someone say they need to go home to rest up from their vacation before they have to go back to work? Do not cram too much into your vacation, if you don’t go 24/7 at home you cannot safely do it on vacation. For those of you taking your children on a kid-vacation, you may want to schedule a few days for yourself after the trip, to enjoy your spouse that allows you to feel recharged before you go back to work.

Enjoy the difference vacation offers you. The rest you get not is not just from “resting” but from doing something you do not normally experience. We have routines for a reason, however a break in routine is refreshing.  Sometimes it is great to break with those routines, but we want to remember moderation and healthy choices. As Oscar Wilde said, “moderation in all things”, excess is always dangerous. Stay healthy and come home without a cast or ER visit!

This Health cast was written and presented by Dr. Kathy Maupin, M.D., Bio-identical Hormone Replacement Expert and Author, with Brett Newcomb, MA., LPC., Family Counselor, Presenter and Author.  

Related Post: