Don’t Let Vacation Workouts Stress You Out: Trim and Toned Thursdays With Cara

Summer exercise is as simple as walking with your kids (like Salma Hayek and Sarah Michelle Gellar)…

The essence of summer is captured in sunshine, ice cream, barbecues, no school, and of course… vacation! We work hard all year long in order to relax and enjoy ourselves for one or two weeks during the summer. We also agonize over eating well and exercising in order to feel and look good in our bathing suits, sundresses and tank tops.

So herein lies our dilemma, do we continue our fitness regime or truly let ourselves go during this week or two retreat? Thankfully this decision does not have to be an ultimatum.  You can escape the stress of work, bills, and responsibilities without compromising your waistline, because 30 minutes of cardio a few times a week will maintain (if not improve) your weight and tone.

Here are some easy ways to exercise while on vacation (they are so much fun that you will forget you are working out!):

My parents and brother Louie on the boardwalk

* Take a Walk: One of my favorite things to do when I go to the beach is to take a walk and look for shells.  It is so relaxing and serene to feel the waves washing onto your feet as you search for hidden treasures of the natural world. You can also take a walk into town and explore a historical downtown area, flea market or botanical garden.  When you are exploring a new place time flies by!  You don’t realize you are burning calories because you are so engrossed in novel sights, smells and sounds!

* Play Beach Volleyball: My brother fell in love with volleyball this past year during gym class.  He is a competitive person and takes gym very seriously.  So, he started to play volleyball with his friends at lunch and whenever he found the time (and willing participants).  When we went down to the beach for a weekend in July, I became his playmate.  I did not realize how intense volleyball could be!  After an afternoon of diving, bumping and serving, I certainly felt accomplished (a 155 lb person burns around 250 calories per hour)!

* Hit The Water: Summer is the perfect time to cool off with water sports!  Activities like swimming, water skiing or snorkeling work multiple muscle groups (and help you burn off that ice cream sundae!)  They are low impact and family friendly too, so your older kids an always join in.

My brother and Dad paddle-boating!

* Go Canoeing or Paddle-boating : Taking a paddle-boat or canoe out is a great way to take a scenic tour of a lake, river or ocean while you’re on vacation.  You can be out on the water without getting wet (as long as you stay in the boat of course!)

* Take a Bike Ride or Go Hiking: Why pay for an expensive bus tour when you can explore on your own and fit a workout in?  Many cities (such as New York), beach communities, and resorts rent out bikes for a relatively inexpensive price.  They are an amazing way to take in the scenery and feel the wind in your hair.

Keri Russel takes a break from tennis to cuddle with her son…

*  Play Golf or Tennis: Want to stay dry?  Playing a round of golf in the morning or a tennis match with your spouse or friend  is a great way to release tension and aggression (and anyone with a toddler has plenty of that).

Cara’s Craving of the Week: Pedometer

Curious about how far you actually walked?  A pedometer counts the number of steps you take.  Some even calculate the number of calories you burn.  Here’s a great inexpensive pedometer from Target: Sportline Pedometer.

Don’t you love a momma’s wisdom?

One of my momma’s biggest pieces of advice is “everything in moderation.” Staying healthy and happy is not about depriving yourself or working out everyday.  It is about staying active and doing what makes you feel good, inside and out.  So be wise and listen to my momma (shouldn’t we all listen to our mommas?): strike the perfect balance between activity and relaxation while you are on vacation.  Don’t forget to live, laugh, and love!

*What are your favorite vacation activities?

Want to get outside, feel fit or find new ways to tone your body? Cara Murphy will help you tap into your inner athlete, no matter where you are at in your life. To submit your own questions, comments and suggestions, please contact Cara at

Credit: © People

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