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Keep That Swimsuit Body While on Vacation

07/18/2012 08:28 EDT | Updated 12/06/2012 05:12 EST

Vacation: a time to eat, sleep, drink and relax. Vacation: not a time to go to the gym or count

calories. It's also a time that usually ends up forcing me to hit the treadmill for extra hours upon

my return home. Over the past year, I have tried to break myself of this habit, which I'm sure

seems familiar to many. Here are some tips and tricks I've learned on staying healthy and active

while away.

1. Make it fun: No one said working out has to involve a gym. In a big city, take a walking tour

instead of a tour bus, or walk between sites instead of taking taxis or subways. If you plan your days properly, most sites are probably within walking distance, and you get to explore more of the city. When heading south, take a day off from lounging with a pina colada and book active excursions such as hikes or bike tours.

2. Indulge... with caution: So much of going on vacation is testing out famous restaurants and sampling local foods. This is absolutely okay, just do so with caution. Choose one day to be a

"cheat day," and be smart for the rest. This doesn't mean eat birdseeds -- just skip the fries and go

for salad, or you can even do something as simple as sharing dessert. If at an all-inclusive resort, breakfasts are usually the same, so test a different dish each day. Also, skip the buffet dinners and instead book an a la carte meal in which portions are controlled.

3. Timing: Schedule your workout during down time. When on a beach vacation, I have a bad habit

of sitting in my room watching TV after the beach and before dinner -- this is the perfect time

to workout. This time is also ideal as you are most likely sunscreened and chlorined, so

adding a little sweat to the mix is the perfect recipe for a shower.

4. Location, location, location: Skip the hotel gym and go for a walk, run or bike on a local path or

beach. So many people spend their days inside, and this gives you a chance to breathe in some

fresh air. Outdoor terrain also makes for a more exciting workout versus the incline on a

treadmill, or stationary bike.

5. Gym lovers: With all that in mind, some people just prefer the gym. My advice: Do your

research before booking a hotel. Most hotels do have a fitness facility, but be sure they have

equipment you are familiar with. This information can often be found on the hotel website, or

simply call the front desk. Some gyms offer guest passes to local facilities; be sure to inquire

about that too.

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