The Fun & Fit Travel Series: Theme Parks

Travel Tile

In February 2014, we went to central Florida and the weather was absolute perfection. I had decided to continue with my fitness regimen every day while on vacation, and keep it quick and simple. I awoke at 7am in order to get in my 30-minute HIIT workout: lunges, burpees, squats, tricep dips, whatever I could do on the property, since the hotel didn’t have a gym. All before spending hours at Universal Studios with the child. I loved it!

One morning, before the sun was up, I got my family out of their beds and we drove to Epcot Center where I proceeded to run the Disney Princess 5K around the park.

Epcot Center before dawn.

These are the kinds of things that will help you keep me sane while the child runs, screams, and eats her way through Disney, Universal Studios, or whatever amusement park I’ve been dragged to. And these things can work for you too.

Here are some basic tips for staying fit while vacationing at a theme park.

Travel Tip #1: Get Used To Walking

If you’ve never been to a theme park before, let me explain this to you. You will be walking. A lot! This is okay. Make sure you wear shoes in which you’d be comfortable walking 10+ miles in. Seriously. Like Really.

Travel Tip #2: Watch What You Are Eating

Some people will say just eat whatever you want. To splurge while on vacation and worry about it later. Here’s the thing, living a healthy lifestyle is a 24/7 thing. It’s a lifestyle, not a part-time option. So I am not a fan of the “vacationing from healthy living”. I’ve seen people (including myself) who gain 8-12 pounds in just one week of those kinds of habits. Is that really something you want to return to?

Food at theme and amusement parks can be treacherous. Sugared dough, burgers, soda, ribs, and hot dogs. That’s pretty much what you will find at most of the eateries at these places. You will have better options out of the park. Eat a hardy, healthy breakfast before you arrive. When you get to the park, grab a map and choose a time and place to sit down and eat. Having a plan will keep the hungries at bay

The sit-down restaurants will have more food options. Many of which will sell roast chicken with veggies and salads. There are also food carts that sell whole fruit and fruit cups. These are great ideas for snacks. I practically lived off apples and diced watermelon at Universal Studios. If you have to eat at the theme park (and you will), try to stick to these.

If you eat intelligently, your body will thank you. It’s incredibly easy to eat your way out of any fitness regimen you may partake in. It will be a challenge, but it will be worth it. And you will be proud of yourself.

Travel Tip #3: Take Advantage of Long Lines

I did something totally ridiculous while waiting for an hour at the Minion ride at Universal Studios. I started doing squats. Yes, that was me.

So no, don’t be afraid to be this guy.

While I wouldn’t lay down in line like that dude, make use of your wasted time by running in place, do squat jumps or lunges. Anything that keeps your heart rate elevated, even slightly, is great.

Travel Tip #4: Enjoy the Morning Quiet

Workout in the morning. Yes, I do mean get out of bed before the rest of the family has gotten up, find the hotel gym or go outside and do 20-30 minutes of exercise. This may offset any bad eating that occurs later in the day, so you don’t need to feel guilty. Believe me, you will feel fabulous and ready to take on the day after a vigorous workout.

Travel Tip #5: Race

If you are a runner, cyclist, swimmer or other type of athlete, one thing that may help you stay motivated while on vacation is participating in a race while you are there. There are loads of events throughout the country and throughout the year, so it is practically impossible to not find one near where you will be visiting. Check out, RunningintheUSA, or GameTiime for all sorts of events.

Take advantage of every opportunity you have. Turn it into a game with the other members of your family, to see where you can fit fitness into your vacation. If you are planning a visit to Cinderella’s Castle and are concerned about maintaining your fitness or weight, don’t sweat it. Actually, yes, sweat it. Keep moving, watch what you are eating, and everything else will fall into place.



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