How to Keep in Shape During a Cruise

Some people throw caution to the wind when the travel and don’t exercise or eat healthy during their trip and just plan on “taking a break” and resuming when they return home. If that works for you, great. Not everyone can do that though. Running is part of my daily routine and even on vacation I need to include some form of exercise or I feel I’m slacking off. It’s also too risky for me to put exercising off because it makes it that much harder to get back into a routine.

Before Jim and I left on vacation we agreed that we would find time to exercise on our trip. 


1. Plan on setting time aside to exercise. 
You might not have time every day during your travels to workout, but you should plan to include exercise in as many days as you can. By planning ahead of time neither one of us was surprised or upset that we were headed to the gym during the trip. 

2. Pack the right gear.
Start by packing your Fitbit or whatever ether sports watch you use to keep track of your steps and workout minutes. Pack workout clothes that you like and look forward to wearing. You will also need sneakers or running shoes. I had a friend that only pack one of her two sneakers, so make sure both sneakers get packed. 

3. Scope out the onboard gym.
All ships have some kind of gym onboard. They are usually free to use for guests. During the first day, find where it is located on the ship. Go visit it, and see what equipment they have available for you to use. A lot of the time the treadmills will face the ocean, so you have amazing views. The equipment is often modern and in better shape than at your local gym. There are also classes that you can take that may or may not cost additional money depending on the cruise company you are traveling with. 

4. Walking/Running Track.

Ships usually have one deck where you can walk/run around the entire perimeter of the ship. I’ve seen it paved with a two-way lane that tells runners where to run and walkers where to walk so that both have adequate space. Sometimes it has more of a rubberized surface to simulate running on a track. If you get bored easily with a treadmill, walking or running on this track is a good way to see a  nice view out of the ship and it also shows you where other areas within the deck are located. 


5. Count your steps.
Remember the Fitbit I mentioned earlier. Ships are huge. Walking to and from your cabin to dinner, a show, and to and from the port and involve more steps than you normally take in a day. You won’t know that for sure unless you take your Fitbit with you. That way on busy days you know how much exercise you have or have not had.

6. Be careful not to overeat.
Cruise ships have an endless selection of food options. I don’t recommend having huge breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. Keep one of the three meals light. There are always healthy options available. Plan on a fish meal instead of a steak dinner, for example. Have a salad or fruit for lunch if you are planning on having a big sit down meal at the onboard restaurant later on.

I don’t have the willpower for this, but I know someone who will order her meals without any sauces. A lot of times the extra calories are on the sauces that garnish your meats and vegetables. If you tell the waitress ahead of time, like on day one, the cook will know to prepare your plate the way you want it. 

7. Take a look at the daily activities.
On my latest cruise, I saw ballroom and line dancing was offered onboard. Exercise doesn’t need to be painful and boring, it can also be fun. You don’t have to be an expert at it either. Just get out there and do your thing.

8. Water sports are an option.
Cruises all have at least one pool, but often they have at least a couple of them. Swimming is a great way to get exercise in, especially if the weather is really hot and humid. Some cruises have adult only pools if you are concerned about running into a kid that is playing in the pool. 

Use the pool as a way to do water aerobics. I use to be part of a water aerobics group. Water aerobics isn’t hard to do. Working out in a pool adds more resistance to your workouts. Hold on to the edge of the pool and you can do leg lifts, kicks, and more. 

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