Thinking about potential best ways to stay fit on a cruise, we’re going in a bit different direction than you might expect. First order of business: forget about the gym, exercise center or anything even close to being a structured plan of exercise. See? This is already easy. But there’s more. Just saying to skip the gym is one thing but to come up with alternative ways to make staying fit magic is another matter but one you already know how to do.
Even something with a hint of structure is a bad fit for cruising where structure is embraced only when it suits us. Like when it’s time to eat. Odds are there will be a number of choices with the rules for dining in those particular venues well-defined. We then make a choice based on our schedule, appetite, culinary desires and fellow dining companions. It’s our choice though, not someone else’s. We like that.
We like that to the point where we will attempt to follow all the traditional advice like ‘avoid the elevators, take the stairs’, ‘skip the shuttle and walk’ and other sometimes inconvenient alternatives. I have no solid numbers on it but wonder how many cruise travelers actually manage to avoid the elevators every single day. The point here is that we really set ourselves up for failure by embracing those commonly-recommended ‘easy’ exercise options.
So what to do?
Walk For A Reason – Yes, many cruise ships have walks for causes. That’s not what I am talking about. Walk in the morning about a half hour before sunrise on a top deck of the ship. Round and round you go until the sun starts to rise and you capture a magnificent image. It took getting up early and a whole bunch of laps around the deck which added up to a ton of steps.
Along the same lines, choosing a stateroom location all that way at the front or back of the ship may also afford reasons to walk for a reason. I know a guy who first locates venues on the ship that attract him then chooses a stateroom as far away from those places as possible. The steps add up.
Small Bites – If the point of staying fit on a cruise is to not return home with ten pounds of work to do, try the smaller meals, more frequently trick to boost metabolism. That way you can still try everything your little heart desires and any one of them does not break the staying fit bank. This actually works and only a slight adjustment in dining schedules is necessary. For example, if you happen to be one of those people who somehow ends up eating two breakfasts, this is for you. Instead of two full breakfasts, make it two half or one-third breakfasts.
Also look for dining venues (included or not) that appear to have smaller portions. The Supreme Hungry Traveler cut of steak is probably not the best choice. Try the filet instead.
Forget About It While Traveling – If staying fit on a cruise is a big concern, something you really worry about, here’s the best advice ever: forget it. If a regular exercise regimen is part of your daily routine on land before the cruise, picking it right back up after the cruise is the best way to get back to normal. Where many cruise travelers make a mistake is not cutting off the non stop flow of food immediately after sailing. The cruise ends on Saturday, toward the end of a month and we say “We’ll get back on track next week”. That’s pretty much the the kiss of death to your cruise health recovery plan.
While all of the above is rather vague, so should be the suggestion buffet from which we choose activities that resonate with us. Pick and choose what of the above might be helpful. Forget the rest. Also forget these Not Suggested Ways To Stay Fit On A Cruise:
- Skip the tender, swim to shore
- Cliff diving off deck 18 of Oasis of the Seas
- Gangway busy with others going ashore? Rappel down the side of the ship.
Chris Owen shares frank, inside information about cruise vacations on ChrisCruises.com