Travel Fitness on the Holiday Road

Military spouses and their families appreciate that travel can be both incredibly rewarding and immensely stressful—especially during the holidays. And more often than not, one of the first casualties of a busy travel schedule is their own wellness.

With a just a little planning, dedication, and creativity, you can make sure that your health and wellness goals don’t get lost the next time you hit the road to that Thanksgiving Feast or Christmas Supper.

Dine Outside the Drive-Thru

In America, “road trips” and “fast food” are virtually synonymous. But you can avoid the burger trap by packing your own healthy, filling snacks and lunches (apples, bananas, trail mix and PBJs are some of my family’s favorites). Even better, explore local cuisine options along your route, from organic restaurants and grocers to farmers’ markets (remember to always wash raw veggies and fruits thoroughly).

Embrace Impromptu Exercise

If your family is spending long days in the car getting to your destination, it’s important to embrace exercise opportunities whenever and wherever you find them. Add a five-minute walk to lunch or bathroom breaks. Take the hotel stairs whenever they are an option. If your hotel offers a grassy area, toss the football or Frisbee with the kids after unpacking for the evening.

Be Adventurous

With more than 7,000 national and state parks dotting the country, America’s natural beauty is often only a highway exit away. These protected spaces offer countless miles of trails for hiking, biking, and burning off a few calories – all in truly breathtaking settings. And best of all, military families can enjoy free access to more than 2,000 recreation areas with a National Parks Annual Pass. To learn more, visit

Remember, exercise and a healthy diet can reduce stress and ensure you get the most out of your trip.

Sweat Where You Stay

Many hotels offer fitness centers with cardio machines and free weights at no charge for guests. But be advised that kids younger than 13 should probably stay out of the weight room, and older ones should always be supervised.

Run With Care

If you’re a family of runners, ask your hotel’s front desk staff for safe routes nearby. Don’t run at night and always stick to sidewalks and designated trails.

Dial It Down

The last thing you want is a sprained ankle or pulled muscle while you’re traveling. Remind everyone (and yourself) to take it easy when exercising or trying a new activity.

Layer Up

By packing clothing options that can be layered, your family will be prepared for a wide range of indoor and outdoor temperatures.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can lead to headaches, hunger, and feelings of sluggishness. Get refillable BPA-free bottles for every family member and fill them with water, not soda, to avoid empty calories.

Keep Those Digits Clean

Experiencing new, unfamiliar destinations means experiencing new, unfamiliar germs. Ensure family members wash their hands frequently, and bring along travel-sized hand sanitizers.


One Response to “Travel Fitness on the Holiday Road”

  1. Jessica December 3, 2013 6:08 pm

    Here’s some actual work outs you can do-

    Get the “Just 6 weeks” app that will program you squats, sit ups, push ups, pull ups if you can do them (or have a bar and a band), and dips. It’s supposed to get you to 100 push ups, 200 sit ups, 150 dips, 200 squats in 6 weeks. We’re women and our bodies don’t work that way, but it’s a great work out and doesn’t require any equipment beyond a bar or a table.

    Do a lot of balance work like lunges and wind mills and jumps

    You can do burpees anywhere.

    Make up your own work out circuit, like do 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 of burpees, jumping squats, push ups etc, or make up another like run to the end of the block and back, to 10 sit ups, 10 pistols or squats, and 10 second planks.

    There’s lots to do!

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