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My Unplanned Vacation Workout

It’s Fit Bottomed Vacay Week — and today Karen is sharing how she stayed active during her honeymoon in Italy. Check out all of our fit travel posts here!

I’d been planning our European vacation/belated honeymoon for more than six months and squeezing a workout into an already packed itinerary was the least of my concerns. I headed to Italy with pasta and wine on the brain, and figured I’d deal with the consequences on my return.

Little did I know awaiting me amidst the ruins was the start of a 12-day non-stop walking and stair-climbing marathon.

They don’t call Rome the City of Seven Hills for nothing.

They don’t call Rome the City of Seven Hills for nothing.

We walked everywhere.

From the Piazza del Popolo, up the stairs of the Coliseum and through the ancient Forum, we sprinted across those streets of Rome, dodging Vespas (who stop for no one), Smart Cars and the occasional Lamborghini.

We trekked through the crowded city to Castle Sant’Angelo and crossed the same centuries old bridge, as did the likes of Julius Caesar, a string of Popes, Ghandi and more recently Lady Gaga.

We battled 250,000 bodies in St. Peter’s square and just kept moving.

Oh, how I wish I’d worn a pedometer.


Each night I dutifully stretched my calves, hamstrings and hip flexors to ward off soreness, but lo’ and behold it never came. I awoke feeling fantastic. Magically, my wonky hip behaved and my knees (which at home are a constant bother) didn’t once complain.

Maybe it was the water, or perhaps the wine, who knows.

Our travels took us to Tuscany, where the streets of Siena made Rome look like a cakewalk. Steep cobblestone hills added to the challenge and tested our balance, but it still didn’t feel like a workout.

 Siena. Built on top of a hill and not a flat street in sight.

Siena. Built on top of a hill and not a flat street in sight.

Guess what, more stairs!

Guess what? More stairs!

My travels gave me a newfound respect for the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other and hoofing it. I came home refreshed and jazzed about keeping my now super-tight glutes (thanks to all those stairs!) in shape.

Experts say that taking a break from your normal exercise routine is a good idea, and I couldn’t agree more. We packed as much sightseeing as we could in that two-week period and was never worse for the wear. I didn’t gain an ounce, even with my high consumption of starchy carbs and gelato.


If this is what a vacation workout looks like, then bring on the bucket list.

Any walkers out there? Let’s hear from ya! —Karen

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