tips staying fit traveling

Your vacation is your time to relax. Hit the beach, explore a new city, or embrace a different culture.

But if you’re looking to bring along your fitness routine, it helps to be prepared. With some planning and the right packing list, you can maintain your workout regimen wherever you go.

The fitness experts at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex have a few tips on how you can stay active when you’re out of town.

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Working Out on Vacation: Simple Ways to Stay Fit

Running barefoot on the beach

This is one of the best exercises for the foot and ankle because it allows them to move. Running on the sand also leads to little impact on the knees, and the consistent resistance of the sand can help burn more calories.


Swimming laps in the ocean or pool for an hour can burn up to 550 calories.


If surfing is an option, and you’re up for it, it can be a great workout. Surfing works your arms, legs, and core, and helps you practice balance.

Volleyball, flying disc, paddle ball, and building sandcastles

These are great activities to get you moving with friends and family. You can even use buckets of sand like dumbbells. The weight of the buckets can be adjusted (water, wet sand, dry sand) for different workouts, making this a simple way to get in some strength training.

Shelling (or picking up seashells)

Make it more challenging and do a squat or lunge every time you pick up a shell. You can even make it a competition with your family and friends.

Walk for transportation

The average length of a city block differs in each city, but walking to your destinations is a great way to learn more about your new surroundings and stay active.

Many cities also have a variety of walking tours that can keep you on your feet while learning.

Curious how far these walks take you? You can find an online conversion calculator to determine how many city blocks equal one mile, but here are a few popular cities:

  • Chicago: eight city blocks = one mile
  • Philadelphia: 13 city blocks = one mile
  • New York City: 20 city blocks = one mile (traveling North to South)
  • New York City: seven avenues = one mile
  • Denver: 16 city blocks  = one mile (traveling East to West)
  • Denver: eight city blocks = one mile (traveling North to South)

Rent bikes

Many cities have designated bike paths or lanes to ensure safer travel by bike. You can rent bikes and spend the day pedaling around taking in the sights.

Hike the landmarks

Take advantage of the rich history many cities have to offer.  Try to find the city’s oldest buildings and snap a pic in front of them. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge or Golden Gate Bridge. Run up the steps to the Philadelphia Museum of Art like Rocky.

Get involved in the local cultural scene

This can be especially great if you are visiting a city with a different cultural influence than your own. Look up some local dance clubs, find out where lessons are happening, and sign up. Learn how to dance the flamenco in Spain, do the jig in Dublin, or square dance down South.

Tips for Working out While Traveling

Do your homework — look into whether where you’re staying has a gym or fitness center, or where the closest jogging trail can be found.

Pack the right stuff — pack little things that can help make your workouts easier to do, like your yoga mat or a resistance band, and definitely workout clothes and proper shoes. Seeing these items in your suitcase may encourage you to be active.’
Plan an active rest stop — if you are spending long hours in the car, plan to take one of your rest stops near a park or other scenic area. Then, you can get out, stretch your legs, and even take a quick walk or jog.

For more information about sports medicine and general fitness, please visit UPMC Sports Medicine. You can make an appointment with one of our sports medicine and performance experts at either of our world-class locations — the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex, by calling 1-855-93-SPORT (77678).

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About Sports Medicine

An athletic lifestyle carries the potential for injury. Whether you’re an elite athlete or a weekend warrior, UPMC Sports Medicine can help. If you are looking to prevent, treat, or rehabilitate a sports injury, our multidisciplinary team of experts can help you get back into the game. If you are seeking to improve your athletic performance, we can work with you to meet your goals. We serve athletes and active people of all ages and experience levels. Our goal is to help you keep doing what you love. Visit our website to find a specialist near you.