Q & A: Should I take a vacation from exercise? I’ve seen on the internet how this can help you get stronger, and improve recovery.
A: The short answer is no. Do your best to avoid or minimize breaks from exercise.
- The health costs are both steeper and harder to repay than you expect, and these compound with age. Here’s an excellent write up of how someone can move into full on diabetes in just 2 weeks of inactivity.
- Missed workouts and weeks off happen due to the chaos of life. It feels better to have someone tell you that a mistake is “a superior hack,” but if you strive to feel good about everything you will eventually not feel good about anything.
- If you’re vacation schedule is so tight that you can’t exercise you might want to rethink what it means to take a vacation.
- Even if you don’t do formal exercise on vacation, keep your step count well above 10,000. There’s nothing wrong with getting 15,000 to 20,000 steps per day as a tourist.
Skipping Workouts Does Not Improve Fitness
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. (The irony of that sentence…) If you’re a competitive athlete training and/or competing for more than 20 hours per week you might perform better at competition if you slightly cut back on training the week before a major competition. Running coach Matt Fitzgerald says you want to be “fresh and fit.” He also warns that too long (more than 1 week) and you’ll end up deeply disappointed on race day if you are fresh and less fit.
For everyone else, doing 2-3 hours less exercise per week means basically doing no exercise. Not exercising will have exactly the impact that your common sense tells you it will have – you lose fitness really fast, and getting back into it sucks.
Make it Better: Train to Eat and Train Together
Personally, vacation is a synonym for food, and extra pounds are my least favorite souvenirs. As a result of honesty about my lack of self control, I try to move (steps) and exercise more while on vacation. Sadly, I can’t buy an unlimited amount of food, but I also try not to let perfection be the enemy of the good.
Everyone in your family is concerned about their health and fitness, and most of them are willing to do something about at least some of the time… in other words, walking, jogging, playing, touring, exercising with your fellow vacationers is a legit way to multi-task.
Don’t believe the hype – not exercising will not somehow deliver better results (of any kind) than exercising. Figure out how to keep moving as much as possible while you’re on vacation. Ideally, try to make time for at least one “official” strength workout while you’re traveling. If you won’t have much, if anything let us know and we can set you up with a routine in our app (Apple or Android).