Take a Vacation—But Not From Your Workout

Everyone needs a break, but don’t let your break affect your health.

Take a Vacation—But Not From Your Workout

When entrepreneurial gadfly Richard Branson owned the hideaway for celebs, La Residencia, in Majorca, Spain, everyone from Princess Diana and Harrison Ford to Kate Moss hung out with him. That indulgent lifestyle didn’t seem to make any of them gain weight! But according to a recent survey of over 2,000 people in the UK, Majorca is one of the top four pack-on-the-weight destinations for vacationers. The toll? Nine added pounds.

Vacations are essential—they dispel stress and revive your spirit—but you don’t want them to become a getaway from exercise and smart nutrition. A new study of 45 active adults found that after two weeks of reducing their physical activity (taking less than 2,000 steps a day and sitting [or floating in a pool] for more than three and a half hours a day), almost all of them were less sensitive to insulin and had higher blood sugar, worse cholesterol readings, slightly less leg muscle mass and more abdominal fat. And another recent study found that if you’re older than 65, a break from physical activity (1,000 or fewer steps a day) for two weeks can send you straight to full-blown diabetes.

So, a vacation from work, that’s healthy—but don’t take a break from being active. You’re aiming for 10,000 steps a day or the equivalent: 10 minutes swimming, freestyle = 2,300 steps; 10 minutes on horseback, trotting = 1,880 steps; 10 minutes of tennis = 2,320 steps. Sounds like fun! And you’ll be taking a vacation from health problems too.

For an extra layer of support and fun, join a challenge on the Sharecare app for iOS and Android.

Medically reviewed in December 2019.

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