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Five Ways to Sneak in Exercise on a Family Vacation

Matt Villano

Vacationing with demanding kids does not lend itself to working out with any degree of regularity. The problem: Lack of time. The best solution: In a word, improvising.

But there is hope for the most creative among us; there is a way for savvy Moms and Dads to sneak in workouts on the road. After 30 days in Hawaii with two youngsters under 4, I was lucky enough to learn five of the tricks. Now, here, today, I pass the secrets along to you.

Manual labor
In general, building stuff in the summer sun makes us work up a sweat. Naturally, then, building stuff with our hands in the summer sun makes us drip sweat like old-skool Patrick Ewing. On our recent sojourn, I estimate I lost five pounds simply from building sand forts for our toddler.

Carry the Maharaja
If you’ve got to transport kiddos from Point A to Point B, get ‘em on your back before you start. Camping backpacks in particular are great because they take those 18 (or 24 or 35) pounds of child and they hold it squarely on your back, forcing you to walk straighter, steadier and more carefully.

Be the dog
Kids love to play. Most parents can’t keep up. Make yourself one of the Moms and Dads who can and you’ll a) become a calorie-burning machine, b) make time fly between pieces of fudge, and c) be present to deter junior from hula-hooping with a hairy hippy named Harmony.

Play Sherpa
Family vacations require you to schlep a ton of stuff everywhere you go. You could delegate responsibilities for this stuff, getting (say) beach gear from the car to the sand in one trip. The better, gut-busting option: Handling it all solo. In multiple trips. Every time.

Pump luggage iron
There’s always downtime at the airport and/or hotel check-ins during which you’re standing around with a phalanx of luggage. Make the most of these opportunities by grabbing one of the heavier bags and performing bicep curls. Yes, you’ll look silly. But do it enough, and you’ll be ripped. I guarantee it.

Do you have (light-hearted) tips to share about squeezing in workouts on a family vacation? If so, please submit them into the comments field below.