How To Stay Fit On A Cruise

Carnival Track
Photo By: Kim (Creative Commons)

Cruise trips are all about pleasure, comfort, adventure, and yes – food. Free snacks, free lunches, free dinners, buffet spreads – food is everywhere you turn. And if that’s not enough, all you can really think about onboard is to sit back, relax, and well – eat.

While it’s definitely okay to indulge and make the most of the fun and fancies on the ship, it’s important that you still keep your overall health and fitness in mind. How exactly do you do that on a cruise ship? Here are a few ways:

Spend some ‘quality time’ at the ship’s fitness center

You already know this – most cruise ships (if not all) have a fitness center. Many are state-of-the-art, with all the equipment you enjoy when you’re on land. Some even have more luxurious additions like spa and sauna facilities.

Use of the gym equipment is free – make the most of them! You may also want to sign up for fitness classes usually offered onboard. If there’s one that you’re very interested in, find out the schedule as soon as you get settled so you can easily work in gym time into your daily itinerary.

Skip the sugary drinks!

Food is irresistible on a cruise ship because they’re literally everywhere. Drinks are overflowing too, although there are additional charges for certain refreshments (like soda and alcoholic beverages).

Save on the extra expense and the added calories too by not getting that beverage package. This way, you don’t feel like tempted to make the most of it by drinking as much of them as you can. You can still enjoy basic refreshments like water, fruit juices, coffee, and tea.

Want a glass of wine to celebrate? That’s ok – just make sure to know your limits.

Make the most of deck space

Cruise ships can get crowded, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never get your chance to do a few stretches, or even enjoy a quick jog, with the beautiful blue ocean as your backdrop.

Pick a time of the day where you don your workout clothes, hold on to the ship’s railings, and start doing lunges. Weather-permitting, early mornings are ideal. Who knows, you might even get to join the Zumba or Tai-Chi group, and your workout becomes an instant chance for socialization!

The swimming pool is your best friend – do some laps

Got carried away at the breakfast buffet? Don’t worry, you have plenty of chances to work off and sweat off the calories during the day. If you’re not in the mood to do your gym exercises, at least get a few laps in.

Did you know that swimming is an entire body workout? It exercises your core, your arms, your legs, and your back. Cruise ships have plenty of swimming pools – pick the less crowded ones and enjoy a refreshing workout onboard..

Eat mindfully

“Does that mean I can’t enjoy the buffet?”, you might ask. No worries, because you definitely can! The great thing about buffets is that you have a wide variety of choices – it’s just a matter of making the right ones.

If you’re going for a ‘heavy’ breakfast, choose lean proteins, a minimal serving of carbs, and if you can’t resist dessert, go for something fresh. Loading on more proteins keeps you full for longer, and indulging on fresh fruit means you get your dose of sweetness along with dietary fiber and other nutrients!

Taste bits of different things if you must, but don’t heap your plates with food you can’t even finish. Not only is this wasteful, it also prevents you from actually appreciating the taste of the food you’re eating.

Go light at night

After the day’s fun but tiring activities, gorging on a filling buffet dinner sounds like an amazing idea. Errr, not if you do this every single night of your cruise! Nighttime is usually ‘slower’ in terms of activities, so it’s highly likely that you won’t have the chance nor the interest to get on a treadmill and burn the calories off. This means you have to considerably tone down the eating spree.

Make the most of light eats – if you’re going for a salad, go easy on the dressing. Eat mainly to quell your hunger. This may also be the best chance to try other restaurants onboard. While this would mean you have to pay a bit more, you’ll be able to better manage your portions, plus you’ll be enjoying a different dining experience.

Do something active on your onshore excursion

You will be spending quite a fraction of your time onshore during your cruise, and while tasting local cuisine must be on your to-do list, staying fit should be too. Don’t worry, it doesn’t require you to do anything fancy – just walk. Yes, walk as much as you can, which is really super easy to figure into your routine if you plan to go sightseeing.

If renting a bicycle for the day is an option, go for it! This is an even better way to get a more intense core and legs workout.

Staying fit while on your dream cruise is definitely a possibility. It does take conscious effort, but it’s worth making. Not overindulging on food and getting some healthy exercise time during your cruise will not only keep you fit, it’ll also increase your stamina and energy to enjoy more out of your vacation.

You’d surely thank yourself after too – especially when you’re back on your regular routine not needing to think about the excess pounds that needs to be worked off for months.