How to Stay Fit on a Cruise – Part 1 : Exercise

P1010229Now let me start by saying that, when I’m on a cruise, staying fit is the last thing on my mind.  But there are those that don’t want to miss a workout even while on vacation.  You know, the guy that’s doing calisthenics on deck while you’re getting your second helping of French fries.  Exercising in one form or another does give you more ways to fill your time while on board the ship.  Sadly, eating at the ship’s buffet doesn’t count as exercise or we’d all be in incredible shape!

Getting some exercise on a cruise becomes more important as the length of the cruise increases.  If you’re on a 7-day cruise, missing a few workouts won’t make much of a difference in your fitness level, but if you were on a 30-day cruise you would want to get in some exercise to prevent losing your fitness edge.

The cruise lines make it easy to get in your workouts while on board, and there are ways to get some exercise while in port too.

Pretty much all ships nowadays have some kind of fitness center.  These fitness centers have weights, treadmills, stationary bikes, and other machines that mimic a land-based fitness club.  One added benefit is that you can workout with a nice view of the sea.  Some ships even offer sessions with a personal trainer for an extra fee.

Most ships now offer exercise classes including yoga, aerobics, various cardio, Pilates, Zumba, and aqua-exercises.  The classes that are offered vary by ship and there is usually an extra fee.

Most ships now have a jogging track on one of the top decks and, of course, you can also use the track for power walking if you don’t want to actually jog or run.  You can also walk the length of the ship and back on most decks.  Have you seen how long some of the hallways are when you come out of your stateroom?

You can swim laps in one of the many pools but you obviously need to pick a time of day when the pool isn’t loaded with people, and choose a pool that has a bit of length to it.  Trying to swim the length of pool underwater is good exercise too.

You can do body weight exercises or calisthenics.  Just find a place with some room to maneuver; one of the top decks will work for this.  You can get some great bodyweight and exercise apps for your phone or tablet so you’ll have it with you on your trip.  Since these don’t require any equipment (only your body weight), you can do them anywhere, although you may think it is a little embarrassing if you do them in a public place.

Then there are the activities that give you some exercise while you’re having fun.  Many ships have basketball courts now, and some of the new ships are being built with things like rock climbing walls and ice skating rinks.  You can also get in some dancing in one of the ship’s clubs.

One way to get some exercise while just getting around the ship is to use the stairs rather than the elevators.  If you’re able and you’re only going up or down a couple decks, use the stairs.  I’ve seen young healthy-looking people waiting for the elevator for a couple minutes to go up one deck.  It’s your choice but the option is there.

To get some exercise while off the ship, you can choose shore excursions that involve some walking, hiking or biking, and there’s always walking around the town.  Several of the excursions we’ve taken over the years involve climbing a bunch of stairs (see picture above).

All these options are available to you if you choose.  And yes, I did see a guy doing some rather hardcore calisthenics on deck on one of my cruises.  It made me tired just watching him, so I pulled up a deck chair and had a slice of pizza.  Ahhh, the cruising life!

All images copyright © Eric T. Christensen

 

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