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Cruise Ship Workouts for Fitness Junkies

By Deb Lowther, GoGirlfriend contributor

Onboard fitness tips for healthy cruising

On a recent family vacation, with 3 kids, a set of grandparents and thousands of other vacationers confined to a floating hotel, I wondered how I was going exercise. I never leave home without my running shoes, but how does one work up a sweat on a cruise ship? Turns out opportunities are everywhere on a cruise ship if you know how to spot them and get a little creative with your cardio.

it's easy to find fun ways to exercise on vacationWhether you’re packing for a family getaway on a character cruise or an island hoping dream vacation, don’t forget to throw in your workout clothes and a great pair of running shoes. Yes, you can get in an awesome workout while floating at sea and not just at the ship’s onboard gym facilities. There are many ways to get active while on water so there’s no need to shipwreck those plans to burn a few calories before enjoying the buffet.

Where to work out on your floating gym

Climb the stairs

Walking helps burn a few caloriesElevators are crowded, especially at peak times and climbing the stairs is a great workout. Our cruise ship had eleven floors, which means there were A LOT of stairs. Our kids often ‘raced’ the elevator by whipping up and down the stairs, and many times they beat it. We took the stairs to dinner, to the pool, to the movie theatre, to the disco and even put on those runners for a 20 minute stair workout.

Join the dance party

You’ll find dance parties suitable for the whole family in the afternoon and evenings on the pool deck and in the disco so get your dancing shoes on and join in! You never know who might join into your dance party.

Find the track

walk or run a few laps before dinnerOur ship had a ½ mile lap around the perimeter of Deck 4. Six times around that track and I had run 5km while floating on water. It’s a little wonky running laps on a moving ship, it’s what I imagine trying to run after a few cocktails must feel like (I never ran after consuming cocktails to test my theory). Things that should be stationary are moving and your balance is a little off, but it’s still worth the workout . . .and the experience.

Pack your practice

Bring your own mat and a DVD of a favorite yoga or strength training class to pop in your computer – or download one to your tablet before leaving home. Do a mini workout in your room or pack a skipping rope and venture out onto an empty deck to go a few rounds. Skipping burns a lot more calories than you remember when you were young.

Visit the cruise ship gym

The gym has some great motivational viewsThe views alone are reason enough for a visit. If you want to actually workout while you’re there, you’ll likely find a class to join or a friendly competition like the one my Mom entered for longest plank position hold.

Get off the ship

On excursion days at ports of call, get off the boat and walk as far as you can. Sign up for snorkeling or rent bike and tour the island. See the sights, and get some distance on those running shoes.

I’m happy to report I ran a total of 15km on the cruise ship, did weights twice in the gym and my 64 year old Mom WON the plank competition against men in their 40’s.

Don’t let a Cruise vacation shipwreck your exercise plans. Take advantage of the amenities, the many decks and stair cases and make sure to dance the night away with your favorite travelling companion and enjoy being active while at sea.

How do you get your exercise while traveling? We’d love to add a few tips to this great list. Drop a comment below or connect with the GoGirlfriend community on Facebook or Twitter.

About Deb Lowther

Deb Lowther ~ @Deb_LowtherDeb is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running on the trails. She ensures her own kids are having fun while being active and eating healthy.  Writing for many website and magazines, Deb’s goal is to inspire others to raise healthy, active families. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and find more healthy tips on her RaisingHealthyKids website.

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