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How Kristen Stays Healthy on Vacation

Ziplining burned plenty of calories, but the trembling I did while crossing a rope bridge and facing one of my biggest fears was what really torched ’em. Yes, that smile is fake. No, we did not keep the sexy hairnets.

We’re going on vacay for this edition of Question of the Week! Okay, so we’re not technically “going” anywhere, but we are discussing how we stay healthy—or purposely and delightfully choose not to—when on vacation!

When I’m home, I’m pretty busy. I rarely keep my work week to 40 hours (especially if you count all the time I check my phone after hours or respond to “just one email”), and it’s not unusual for me to have obligations several nights out of the week. Add into that cooking, cleaning, taking care of dogs, and spending some quality time with my husband catching up on our favorite shows (Shut up; vegging on the couch and giving each other fist bumps for correctly guessing the latest shocking twist on Law & Order: SVU is totally a bonding activity!), and I don’t have a lot of spare time. I get in workouts, don’t you worry, but aside from the occasional duty-free weekend, I don’t generally get to focus entire days on just doing what feels good.

And that’s exactly what vacations are for, right?

The way I see it, I rarely have more free time than when I’m on vacation, and that means I have extra time to get in some workouts that have been pushed to the wayside. I can go for a long run (assuming I’m somewhere safe) and take my time. I can stop, walk, take pictures, you name it. I can take a new class at a gym nearby or take advantage of whatever fitness amenities my hotel has to offer.

Or, I can not, if that’s what my body seems to need.

My husband and I both try to stay pretty active on vacations. When planning activities, we’re always on the lookout for hiking or paddleboarding or, you know, whatever sounds cool in the area. And that’s a good thing, because our favorite way to get to know a new city is to walk around, stop and have a drink or a snack in whatever restaurant or bar looks fun or has a great view. We love trying local foods and house specialties that we might not find at home, and we also love finding ways to recreate them (and make them a bit more healthful) when we get home. The walking around and befriending the locals doesn’t burn off all the calories we consume, no doubt, but that’s why we kayaked or rode our bikes that morning, you know?

(Also, while I’m being practical, I also have to say that we often look for hotels with a kitchenette, especially if we’re on the beach or something. It’s far easier to fill up on fresh fruit or snack on yogurt if it’s right there!)

The most important way I stay healthy on vacation, though, has nothing to do with food or exercise. When I’m on vacation—really, truly on vacation, and not working from a fun hotel—I try my very best to unplug entirely. I can be a bit of a workaholic, and boy, is it hard to stay away from all the social media sites. But when I do, even if it’s just for a few days, my goodness, does it make a difference. After all, fitness isn’t just about the body; it’s about the mind, too.

I feel like this is a healthy balance for my family and me. Sure, we could focus more on loading up on vegetables or doing hardcore workouts, but the thing that’s important to me is that time off is enjoyable. It’s too rare in this household to take it for granted! How about you? —Kristen

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