Let’s assume that Father’s Day or maybe a graduation or wedding this spring has you thinking harder about what’s important in life and you’ve committed to a healthy lifestyle. Then smack, it’s time for summer vacation and what is for many, an excuse to overindulge, leaving any concerns about diet and exercise back home. Well, think again.
Vacations can be a great time to jump-start the health consciousness you’ll want to maintain all year. And, they are a great vehicle to integrate your social aspirations with your physical behaviors to produce the “fun” that makes it’s all worthwhile.
For me, summer provides a welcomed diversify in my exercise regimen. I really love running on the promenade in Sea Isle City, where my wife and I have a modest condo. Watching the ocean as I stride, typically with a slight wind, provides a great alternative to the treadmill back home. A summer gym membership there gives me access to the treadmill if needed, and the ability to continue my weight training. On diet, I go heavy on the seafood with a healthy dose of shellfish, ahi tuna appetizers, and calamari that’s not fried when I can find it.
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I’m not a fisherman or big on watersports, but I do enjoy ocean swimming, a walk downtown with my wife and, the best of all, chasing my adorable three-and-a-half-year-old grandson around. My son and daughter-in-law are regular visitors so we get an extra dose of the little guy all summer. He’s the best.
Bottom line, I’ve established summer routines for those mini weekend vacations and typically a week in August. I supplement my hometown routine with a few Jersey Shore specifics that combine the healthy behavior with those social activities and provide a ton of fulfillment. What about you? Here are some tips to consider as you make your vacation plans:
Yes, vacation is a time to enjoy the company of good friends and family, and this often happens around meals, barbeque or maybe even a campfire. If possible, try a frozen yogurt instead of a full-dose of sugar-rich ice cream. A sparkling water can be just as thirst-quenching as that soda, and a quality smoothie can often give you some of the fruits and vegetables you need for the day. Of course, try to keep the pasta, beer and alcohol to reasonable amounts, and, as I referenced in my portfolio, seafood of all types is a great go-to dish.
As for activities that provide movement, vacations offer a host of possibilities that range from the simple to the more adventurous. Most of the following accommodate one or more partners making them a great way to socialize as you stay maintain your behaviors. Here’s a dozen ideas for summer fun and fitness:
A bike ride is a great way to ease into a regimen of physical activity. Add a partner for some social interaction.
Whether on the beach, in the street or even indoors on a treadmill, a nice jog, run or walk can make you feel great and provide a look at the local scene.
3. Hit the gym
Not the most glamorous, but some resorts outdo themselves. Combine your workout with a steam, sauna or massage and you’ve created a great vacation package. Think ahead and see what facilities you’ll be able to access.
A must-do for the golfer on vacation. This is another “think ahead” activity. Make sure you’ve got reasonable access to a decent course.
Another no-brainer if you’ve got access to a pool, lake or the ocean. Particularly accommodating if you’re away with the grandchildren.
Hiking is a great form of cardiovascular activity and way to connect with nature. Another idea that’s best done with others.
7. Water skiing and surfing
For the more adventurous, water skiing can provide a rush like few other activities. On surfing, I have a 50+ brother who lives in Southern California who still surfs, often with his (adult) son. He loves it and the quality time it provides.
I interviewed a number of guys for my book who told me stories of the pleasure they derive from hunting and the camaraderie it provides. It clearly makes the list.
This is a biggie that many guys love. Whether on the ocean, in a river, lake or stream, fishing is a major-league vacation activity that works physically, mentally and socially.
10. Scuba diving
Another more adventurous pursuit, but one that nevertheless makes the list as a go-to for many guys.
For those who want to get the feel of the underseas without the commitment of scuba diving, snorkeling is the answer. I actually did this once and loved it. Very cool experience.
12. Canoeing and kayaking
I’ll put these two in the same category as water-oriented fun and another great way to work the upper body. Both work extremely well when paired with several others. For more fun, combine these water-based activities with camping or hiking.
Yes, there’s plenty for a guy to do on vacation while sticking to his lifestyle commitment. Enjoy!
Louis Bezich, senior vice president of strategic alliances at Cooper University Health Care, is author of “Crack The Code: 10 Proven Secrets that Motivate Healthy Behavior and Inspire Fulfillment in Men Over 50.”