Please note: This post is for the average person. Pros, trainers, ironmen and women, please move along; I need to have a private chat with my fellow moderate worker-outers. Thanks.
Ahem. OK. Now that Skyler and Ryan aren’t listening, I’m going to sanction a few things we never promote on this site. After all, Ask Fitness Coach is a fitness site dedicated to real people, and sometimes real people need a break from 5Ks and 60-mile rides.
And sometimes real people take vacations and spend a little too much time at the buffet.
I just returned from a week in Waikiki — that’s 7 whole days of mai tais and beach food, in case you’re doing the math. I’m happy to report that I did not board the plane home in a muumuu purchased from the airport gift shop. In fact, I lost weight. My legs and bum are more toned. Even my abs are tighter.
I walked non-stop in Honolulu. I walked for 3 or 4 hours every day, through the city, up and down the beach. Not with duty-free shopping bags on my arms and carry-on luggage strapped to my ankles. Just plain old walking. And I noticed a big difference.
True, it won’t catapult you to your ideal shape, but Mayo Clinic experts say walking is a solid way to boost your health and whittle your waistline. Mireille Guilano says it’s why French women stay slim. Even though they eat A LOT.
On every vacation there will be unavoidable buffets and fast-food burgers, but walking is an easy way to stay active (and who really wants to figure out foreign transit systems, anyway?). You don’t even have to tread for hours like I did; 10 minutes here and there will add up. According to the American Council on Exercise, a short midday walk and another after dinner will deliver noticeable results.
Celeb trainer Harley Pasternak says the average European walks 237 miles per year. The average American? 87 miles. So there you have it. Preventing vacation weight gain is as simple as channeling your inner European and hoofing it instead of hailing a cab.
I speak from experience: walk at least once a day, and not only will you come home slimmer, but you’ll have a fatter wallet from all the cash you saved skipping the bus.
Simple steps for extra calorie burn while you walk:
- Straighten up and engage your core muscles.
- Vary your intensity.
- Take the long route.
- Seek the path of most resistance. (If you happen to be visiting hilly San Francisco, or Pittsburgh — the only U.S. city with over 700 public stairways — you’re in luck!)